2nd Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice-
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
– The refreshmentroom is also the dining-room. The answer may be misleading if that is not stated.
– Yes. The refreshmentroom is also the dining-room. The figures represent the average - expenditure, including what is spent at meal times.
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - ‘
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Whether the following statement, appearing in the Argus, is in substance correct, and whether the Government has any intention of altering or doing away with the Vancouver service subsidy and adding it to the Peninsular and Oriental and Orient contracts : - , “ Ocean Mail Contracts. ” Position in Queensland. “ Brisbane, Sunday. “ Mr. Morgan, when asked yesterday whether any action could be taken in regard to the mail contract and the extension of the service to Brisbane, pointed out that the Federal Government appeared to be intent on making a contract only for the conveyance of mails, rendering it necessary for the States to make provision for the extension of the service to their respective States. Mr. Morgan thought this could be done without very - much extra cost, by doing away with the subsidy on the Vancouver service, and adding it to the amount now paid under the Peninsular and Oriental and Orient contracts. Thus they would be able to secure a service which would alternate with the Aberdeen service, and provide a regular fortnightly service from Brisbane. 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 a 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. ft is presumed that the steamers in that event would follow the Pacific Cable route to New Zealand, and then go back to Sydney.”
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Nothing is known of the statement referred to, except that the Government of New Zealand inquired through that of the Commonwealth in December last as to the willingness of Queensland to withdraw from the Vancouver mail contract, in order that the mail steamers might call at a New Zealand port instead of at Brisbane, on condition that the Government of New Zealand took over the liabilities of Queensland as a party to the contract. The Government of Queensland acquiesced in the proposal, and the Government of New Zealand was informed in February, but no further action has been taken. There is no intention of altering or doing away with the Vancouver mail service subsidy, beyond what has been stated, or of adding it to any other ‘contracts.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The matter is being inquired into, and if the honorable member will repeat his question to-morrow, I hope then to be in a position to answer it.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 2nd August, vide page 3809) :
Clause 2 (Determination of Seat of Government).
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).In speaking to this clause, I feel bound to express the opinion - which I believe is shared by most honorable members - that the time has now arrived for the determination of the Seat of Government. It has been found that the question has been used, and, if not settled, is in the future likely to be still more largely used, for political purposes. Those within whose electorates proposed sites are situated - and it is only fair to mention that the Lyndhurst site is situated not far from the electorate which I represent - seem to make the question peculiarly their own. I have observed, too, that members of the Parliament of New South Wales, now that there is a general election at hand, are using it to- secure popularity within the districts for which they wish to be returned. When this Parliament was last dealing with the Bill, the Government of New South Wales were given an opportunity to recommend a site, and to stamp it with the imprimatur of their approval ; but they did not take advantage of that opportunity. Since then, however, there has been a change of Ministry, and the present Premier, who represents the State electorate of Carcoar, within which the Lyndhurst or Carcoar-Garland site is situated, is now displaying a great amount of energy in connexion with the matter. The question naturally occurs to one, why is it that when the subject was last under discussion in this Chamber, and the Lyndhurst site needed supporters, the honorable gentleman - who was at the time Treasurer of the State - did not show the zeal which he is now displaying? Is not the answer to be found in the fact that proposed sites are situated in a number of the New South Wales constituencies, and the See Government had not the moral courage to offend possible supporters by saying that thev preferred some particular site, and offering that site to the Federal Government? In this Parliament we find that members who represent constituencies in which no proposed site is situated are advocating the postponement of the determination of the Seat of Government, in order to gain popularity, and the approval of the press.
– It applies to me probably as much as to the- honorable member for Newcastle. The honorable member was in favour of Lyndhurst, but he turned a somersault, and discovered that
Tooma was the best site. Now that an election is looming in the distance - and we are told that a dissolution may be expected - other honorable -members are performing the same acrobatic feat, in order that they may gain popularity among their constituents, or secure the approval of the press.
– There is no election looming in the distance, is there ?
– If the honorable member reads to-day’s newspapers, he will see that some persons think that a general election is not very far off. Why should the Victorian press’ be so anxious to prevent a settlement of this question ? Why should they seek to induce members to break faith with New South Wales ? Are they not favouring the selection of Albury, or Tooma, because either of those places would be very much closer to Melbourne than to any other State capital, and because chey would be able to send their newspapers into the Federal city some hours before the daily journals published in Sydney, or any other capital city in the Commonwealth, could be delivered there? That is the chief object held in view by the newspaper proprietors when they urge that matters should be allowed to remain as they are, or endeavour to persuade honorable members to select a site which would not be regarded with favour by the people of New South Wales. They know that whilst they urge the selection of Albury or Tooma, there is no likelihood of the matter being settled, and that, so long as the people of New South Wales are dissatisfied with the choice made, the Seat of Government will remain in Melbourne. Despite the press, however, the representatives of Victoria should demonstrate that it is the intention of the people of that State to keep faith with New South Wales. The Kyabram movement in favour of public economy has been availed of to prejudice the minds of the electors against any expenditure upon the Federal Capital. I ask how it would be possible to establish the Seat of Government anywhere outside of the large centres of population without a large expenditure of public money ? I am prepared to vote any sum that may be required for properly housing the Federal Parliament and Departments, and for laying out the Federal city, in order that the Commonwealth Government may have a suitable home, and I believe that such action will be approved by the common sense of the people.. If a large sum be required it must be expended ; but, at the same time, it would be inadvisable to enter upon any unnecessary outlay. We should, if possible, choose a site in connexion with which only a reasonable-expenditure will be required. Several such places have been offered by New South Wales, and I wish to refer to one or two which I regard as worthy of attention. There are other sites which are not entitled to any consideration whatever. Albury is so close to Victoria that if the Federal Capital were established there New South Wales would be called upon to practically grant to Victoria a large slice of her territory. No concession would be made to New South Wales in regard to the establishment of the Capital within her territory if she were called upon to provide a site embracing an area_ of 100 square miles on the borders of her territory. That would not be in accordance with the spirit of the compromise entered into between the representative of New South Wales and those of the other States. New South Wales was, at first, unwilling to enter the Federation unless the Capital were established at Sydney, but as a compromise it was agreed that, although the Capital city should be in New South Wales territory, it should not be located within 100 miles of the metropolis. I do not think that I am committing any breach of confidence’ in stating that at the Premiers’ Conference the right honorable member for East Sydney suggested a limit of eighty miles as a fair compromise. But the right honorable member for Balaclava, the then Premier of Victoria, immediately replied that if such a limit were fixed, Moss Vale would become eligible as a site for the Federal city. He said that he could not consent to that, and urged that a limit of 100 miles from Sydney should be fixed. The right honorable member for Balaclava evidently contemplated that the Capital would be established very close to the 100 miles limit, and I think, therefore, that we should only be paying proper regard to the spirit of the compact if we endeavoured to select a site as near as possible to that limit.
An Honorable Member. - Should we’ not select the best site that can be found ?
– I believe that the best site for the Federal Capital might be found at some place immediately outside the 100 miles radius from Sydney. When the people of New South Wales voted at the first referendum, they decided against Federation by a large majority - taking into consideration the statutory number of .votes that had to be polled. They were then opposed to Federation, whereas all the other States were eager to bring it about. It was impossible to form the Union without New South Wales, and the other States asked what she wanted, in order to induce her to join. The mother State then made the very simple request, “ Give us the honour of having the Federal Capital within our territory ; that is all we ask.” That request was granted, and I now ask honorable members to carry out the compact then made, and agree to the establishment of the Federal Capital as near as possible to the 100 miles radius from Sydney. The people of New South Wales would never approve of Bombala, Tumut, or Albury, and it would be a waste of time to select either of those sites. I heard this matter discussed in. the last Parliament, and I came to the conclusion that notwithstanding the adverse influence that was being exerted by the press, honorable members were disposed to keep faith with New South Wales. I have yet to learn that honorable members will not do what they believe to be fair to the mother State, which entered the Federal union, quite content to trust the people of the Commonwealth through their representatives. A very great moral responsibility rests upon honorable members, and it is their duty to discharge that responsibility. Is it to be said that the other States having induced,the people of New South Wales to join the Federation ; that the first Commonwealth Parliament having, immediately after it had assembled, imposed extra taxation upon them, amounting to £1,000,000 - taxation which was not required for the cost of the ordinary government of that State-
– The amount was nearer 500,000.
– The people of New South Wales are willing to bear that burden for the sake of Federal union. There is only one thing which they ask of us. They say, “ Give us the Federal Capital at a distance of not more than 100 miles from Sydney.” That is a very simple request to make. Notwithstanding the provision contained in the Constitution, honorable members have not exhibited any undue eagerness to get away from Melbourne. Certainly this question has been kept alive, but no attempt was made to decide it until the end of the first Parliament. The responsibility which rests upon honorable members is a real one, and one which should be discharged to the satisfaction of the people of New South Wales. During the course of this debate a great deal has been said concerning the very beautiful sites which are to be found adjacent to Victoria. Personally, I do not think that the Tooma site can possibly be superior to that of Table Top, which is situated close to Albury - a town which is already connected with the various State capitals by rail - and the altitude of which is quite as great as that of Tooma. Table Top is situated a few miles north of Albury, but although it is a very beautiful site indeed, it is an absolutely impossible one because of its distance from Sydney. The Tooma site, which is advocated so ably by the honorable member for Hume, is also a magnificent one. The honorable member for Newcastle has declared that when he visited it he had a perfectly, open mind, but that, after ha vino; seen it. he concluded that no better site exists. I am willing to believe that it is an admirable site. The fact remains, however, Lhat it is situated upon the border of New South Wales, and that it is inaccessible, whereas the Albury site is very accessible. Therefore, I claim that the expenditure which would require to be incurred in establishing the Federal Capital at Alburv would be very much less than that which would be involved in establishing it at Tooma. I would further point out that while the water supply at the latter place might be very excellent, it would be drawn, not from the Murray, but from the Tooma River. A doubt also exists as to whether that supply is as good as it has been represented to be by the honorable member for Hume. While the Tooma site is no doubt. a very excellent one, I do not believe that it is much superior to a hundred other sites which are 1o be found in various parts of New South Wales, and which can be had merely for the asking.
– Why did not the honorable member inspect the Tooma site ?
– That is a very fair question to put, and I think that my reply will be equally fair. I did not visit Tooma because I do not consider that it is just to ask the people of New South Wales to assent to the establishment of the Federal Capital upon the Murray River in that locality. During the early history of the Federal movement, the late Sir Henry Parkes frequently used to speak of the “ Federal City.” I am inclined to think that he borrowed .that phrase from the late Sir Hercules Robinson, who, upon one occasion, delivered a famous after-dinner’ speech in the Albury Town Hall. It is because of that speech, and because Albury was afterwards dubbed the “ Federal City” of Australia, that a great deal of prestige has been associated with that particular locality. Personally, I cannot conceive that the Tooma site is very much superior to that of Table Top, which has an altitude of 1,500 feet, and which is situated within ten or fifteen miles of Albury.
– Has the honorable member seen both sites?
– I have not.
– The Tooma site is vastly superior.
– The site at Albury would not constitute a fair compromise, and therefore cannot be accepted as a settlement of this somewhat vexed question, any more than can the Tooma site. If we want “to obtain a magnificent water supply, there is another site which would, perhaps, prove acceptable to the people of New South Wales. The drainage in that case is from the opposite side of Mount Kosciusko - I refer to the Dalgety site - and it possesses a magnificent supply of the purest of water. In the opinion of geologists Mount Kosciusko is the oldest mountain in the world. From it we can obtain water at a season of the year when streams in many other parts of New South Wales are practically dry. .The fall of the water is such that it might be possible to obtain motive power there at a very small cost indeed - power which would call into being a large manufacturing centre outside of the city area.
– We should require to impose protective duties before we could secure the establishment of any manufactures.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports declares that to induce the establishment of manufactures we should require to levy heavier protective duties. I would remind him that in America - where the protective tariff is higher than that of the Commonwealth, or than was the old Victorian Tariff - at the town of Niagara, where statutory authority is given, to use the water from the famous falls of that name to the extent of 500,000 horse-power - notwithstanding the statement of the right honorable member for East Sydney to the contrary - manufactures are springing up like mushrooms. All round the town of Niagara upon the United States side of the river, as also upon the Canadian side, manufactures are being established for the purpose of utilizing the water power available, because it is so cheap.Evidently the honorable member has not read the well-known book, “America at Work.”
– Yes, I have.
– If so, the honorable member must have read the article entitled “ Niagara in Harness.” If he has read that article he must know that at Dalgety the water might be so diverted as to provide a fall quite equal to that obtained at the Falls of Niagara. I would direct his attention to the possibility that the suburbs of the Federal Capital, if it be established on this site, may be converted into very large manufacturing centres, assuming that the waters of the Snowy River be utilized to the fullest extent under the scheme advocated by Mr. Pridham. Dalgety is a magnificent site. It has an easterly aspect, and a water frontage, and if it were selected it would be possible to make an ornamental lake twenty or even forty miles in length. The land adjacent to the site is as good as any to be found within the several areas dealt with in the reports before us. Ihave heard it said that Dalgety comprises fluky country. It may be fluky country, and therefore unsuitable for sheep raising; but we desire to secure not a sheepwalk, but a site for a centre of population. The land could te so drained as to secure as large an area for settlement as is likely to be required. If opposition to the selection of Dalgety be based on the ground that it consists of fluky country, then we must give no consideration to Tooma, because I believe that a similar objection applies to it. The honorable member for Hume will admit that is so.
– I do not admit anything of the kind.
– Is the honorable member’s assertion based on mere rumour or on a statement contained in one of the reports?
– It is suggested by an honorable member that it was a mere fluke that Tooma was brought under our consideration. I am inclined to think that if it had not been included in the list submitted to us, some other magnificent site in the electorate of Hume - for the honorable member’s constituency comprises many such sites - would have been brought forward.
I have no objection to sites in that district being brought under our notice to. provide pleasant week-end excursions for honorable members, but it would not be worthy of the honorable member for Hume to seriously suggest the selection of any of them. The honorable member has a duty to perform for his own State - he owes an even greater duty to New South Wales than do the representatives of other parts of the Commonwealth. The right honorable member for Swan visited a number of sites in the Southern Monaro district, and has given Dalgety his imprimatur, holding that it is the best in the district. The right honorable member has a reputation to back up his opinion. He was the first, to cross Australia from west to east, and furnished reports on the country through which he traversed, pointing out the good and the indifferent land, the extent of the water supply available, and the possibilities of the interior. His reputation as an explorer - as a man of wide experience, possessing a European reputation - is such that his opinion on this question should not be allowed to pass without due consideration. The possibility of utilizing the water power available at Dalgety has been dealt with by the right honorable member in a very convincing way, and Tooma cannot be regarded as in any way comparable with it as a site for the Federal Capital. The water supply of Dalgety is superior to that of Tooma, while the land is equally good ; and as a compromise the selection of Dalgety would be more acceptable to the people of New South Wales. If the distance separating a site from Melbourne and Sydney is to be a factor in the selection, then the journey from Melbourne to Dalgety would not be so great as to give dissatisfaction to even the most fastidious person who might have to undertake it. I should like once more, to impress upon honorable members that- it is necessary that we should make such a selection as will lead the people of New South Wales to consider that we have kept faith with them. We might secure a site adjacent to Goulburn which would be a little more than one hundred miles from Sydney, and the selection of. such a site would give great satisfaction to the people of New South Wales. If we kept faith with them their feeling towards the Federation would be altogether different from what it is. They are a kindhearted people, and while their representatives make a stout fight on their behalf in dealing with every proposal that comes before this House, they are prepared, as soon as they find that they are in a minority, to bow to the majority. In many cases, a majority has been secured against them by the votes of honorable members from a State whose representation is in excess of the population basis, whereas honorable members from New South Wales actually represent the people.
– There is not much in that argument.
– The right honorable member is one of the representatives of a State who have a smaller proportion of electors behind them than have the representatives of Victoria and New South Wales. That is true of the representatives of Western Australia, both in this House and another place.
– It is not the case, so far as this House is concerned.
– With all due respect to the right honorable member, I repeat that it is. No State may have less than five representatives in this House, but on the establishment of Federation, Western Australia was not entitled, from the point of view of population, to that number.
– I think that it is now entitled to that number.
– The right honorable member admits that Western Australia has only just secured a population which places its representatives on equal terms with those of New South Wales. In the last Parliament, when, as the result of the passing of the Tariff Bill, heavy taxation was levied on New South Wales, Western Australia had not a population entitling it to five representatives; but the people of New South Wales bowed to the decision of the Parliament.
– But the Free Trade Party secured the votes of all the representatives of Western Australia with one or two exceptions.
– Let it be remembered that no measure passed by this House may become law until it has been confirmed by another place. The Senate is the States House, and amendments suggested by honorable senators who represent States rather than people were accepted by this House.
– It is not a fact that the majority of honorable members representing
Western Australia voted to impose taxation on New South Wales, or on any other State in the Union.
– No State can be singled out for special treatment by Act of Parliament ; but in the administration of the Tariff Act it- is found that the taxation imposed by it falls more heavily upon New South Wales than, say, upon . Tasmania. The people of New South Wales pay £1,500,000 more than is sufficient for her requirements -£1,500,000 mote than they ever paid before.
– Western Australia had nothing to do with that.
– They observe the compact and bear the burden cheerfully - for they have satisfaction in the establishment of the Commonwealth - and we should not be wanting in a sense of our responsibility or in the recognition of what is just and reasonable. We have to remember that, we are at the dawning of a nation, and the very first act demanded of us is that we should do justice to the States which have entered the Union.
– If New South Wales by means of the Commonwealth Tariff Act obtains so much more revenue than she requires, how is it that she has to borrow so much. money to supplement that revenue?
– Because she has had many spendthrifts at the head of affairs.
-In what way has NewSouth Wales been treated unfairly ?
– If the honorable member wishes me to discuss the Tariff-
– The honorable member would not be in order in discussing it.
– If it were in order, no subject would give me more pleasure.
– We shall have an opportunity to-morrow.
– No doubt, I shall have an opportunity on another occasion of explaining to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports how this taxation has ‘ been imposed, just now, however, I am not making any complaint on that score. I am now endeavouring to show that NewSouth Wales is long-suffering - that that State has shown great kindness, and should be treated with justice.
– New South Wales has been treated as fairly as has any other State in the Union.
– New South Wales expects to be justly treated.
– Hear, hear !
– And honorable members will show by their vote whether they act fairly towards New South Wales.
– That would be a wrong inference !
– New South Wales will be able to judge, by the vote given, whether the other States, through their representatives, are acting justly towards her.
– I rise to order. Is the honorable member in order in imputing injustice to any member of this House who may vote against his particular idea? My point is that the honorable member is inferring that if honorable members do not vote for the particular spot which he favours New South Wales will be treated with injustice.
-I fail altogether to draw that inference from what the honorable member for Robertson said. If the honorable member had made a direct statement to that effect, it would have been out of order ; but he has not done so. The honorable member for Robertson is, I take it, speaking altogether with regard to the future.
– I wish to bring the Committee back to a sense of their responsibility in regard to keeping faiththat is my point - with New South Wales.
– Who would dispute that position ?
– From the honorable member who interjects I claim justice under the Constitution. I ask the honorable member, as a representative of the people of the great city of Melbourne, to do justice to New South Wales, and not to vote in favour of a site not acceptable to the people of that great State. The honorable member ought not to give a vote which he knows will incense the people of the mother State.
– How am I to know that ?
– I give the honorable member credit for possessing some common sense, and for knowing that the people of New South Wales, when they entered the Union, would never have agreed to the limit of 100 square miles, if, in the next breath, they had been informed that the Federal territory would probably be selected on the borders of Victoria. Under such circumstances would the people of New South Wales not have said: - “You wish us to cede to Victoria 100 square miles at least of our territory for the purposes of a site over 100 miles closer to Melbourne than to Sydney. In that there would be no ‘ compromise - no concession to New South Wales.” Having induced the people of New South Wales to enter the Union, if honorable members desire to satisfy their scruples and their pride in the chief city of Australia, they ought to select a site such as the people of the State anticipated. In the western part of New South Wales there is a site which answers all requirements, and which would be acceptable to the people of that State. During the discussion a great deal of attention has been devoted to the centrality of CarcoarGarland, Canobolas, and Bathurst, situated as they are just beyond the limit of 100 miles. Much has been said by those opposed to the settlement of the question as to the impossibility of conserving in these areas water sufficient for the requirements of a city. We know, however, that with the large water supply of the CarcoarGarland district there will be no difficulty whatever in conserving sufficient for artificial lakes, reservoirs, and for domestic and other purposes. It is stated by Mr. Wade, in his report, that a great deal of water would, after making provision under these heads, be available for irrigation purposes. The rainfall is 39 inches, and the altitude of the site is 2,270 feet above sea level, as contrasted with 1,500 feet at Tooma. Among other requirements in the site of a Federal Capital are a salubrious climate and a rarified atmosphere; and we can find the very finest atmosphere and climate, a sufficient rainfall, and magnificent soil, with building material equal to any in Australia, in this western district of New South Wales. At Carcoar-Garland, Millthorpe, Orange, or even at Wellington, there is a magnificent rainfall - rivers running through the territory, and land which will produce 40 bushels of. wheat to the acre. I should like to read for the information of honorable members what was said by Mr. Oliver in regard to this western part of New South Wales: -
Although, perhaps, the water resources of Canobolas are inferior, in regard both to catchment area and head for gravitation, to those of the Upper Campbell’s River for Bathurst, yet there is evidence to support the conclusion that they are fairly sufficient for an assumed population of 40,000, and would be capable, by auxiliary storage, of supplying a still greater population. Moreover, the superior rainfall of Canobolas (as much as 14 inches greater than that of Bathurst) becomes an important factor when comparing the catchments of Canobolas and Bathurst; while the same may be said of the facilities possessed by this site for providing an ample water supplyfor large bodies of workmen, and others employed on buildings, &c. The climate of Canobolas, from the superior altitude of its site, and its position on the fall of the plateau towards the Great Western Plains, is preferable to that of any western site, and I believe that the comparatively high rainfall of Canobolas is climatically beneficial, and in no way injurious to health.
A very long report was written by the late Mr. Oliver upon the suitability of the western district for a Federal Capital. He says : -
In regard to land values, the figures appended show the estimated cost of absolute resumption of the western sites as originally proposed : -
That, I think, is a refutation of those arguments used against the quality of the land in that district. There is land estimated as worth£6 per acre at Millthorpe, and it is grand agricultural soil, which will produce wheat such as the honorable member for Grey has seen in his own district. Then we are told by Mr. Oliver that the cost of the site would be , £188,160, which is -very much less indeed than the cost in the Canobolas district. When we go a little further west, still within the fifty-miles radius, we find that Mr. Oliver, in regard to Wellington, says: -
Here is a very large area of Crown land that should be very acceptable to the people of Victoria, who are saying so much about the cost of the proposed Federal site. The lands outside the Crown lands area are valued at £3 per acre. The land in the Wellington Valley is magnificent; it is a very rich chocolate soil. The yield of grain there is very much superior to anything in South Australia, or to the average in Victoria. One notable fact is that grain grown there has taken the gold medal in London for its superior quality. If honorable members sitting behind the Government wish to obtain a large area for closer settlement, there is no part of New South Wales that is more suitable than the district which I have the honour to represent, say, within the area described by Mr. Oliver at Wellington, or the country a little further on towards Werris Creek, going up to Cobbora, or the land between Cobbora and Dubbo. Most of that land is a short distance beyond the fifty-mile radius. So that in selecting a western site, we should have an almost unlimited area of first-class land surrounding the Federal city. I do not know of any part of Australia where we could obtain such a large area of land so suitable for settlement, and which from its superiority in quality should be so acceptable to the Commonwealth. It will be noticed, from Mr. Oliver’s description, that a large area is what is called Church and School Land. It has not been taken up for settlement, because it was reserved for a specific purpose.
– Is it still Crown land?
– Yes, it is described as Church and School Land, though it is now held under lease.
– It is not held by trustees for church purposes?
-No. The Church and School Lands Act of thirty or forty years ago disposed of all the revenues, and gave a pension of ,£300 a year to the clergymen who were interested, for which they surrendered their claims. But the lands are now held under lease, arid are available for the purposes of a Federal Capital.
– They became Crown lands after the passing of the Act which the honorable member has mentioned.
– The fact that they are designated Church and School Lands is of some value, because it goes to show that they might have been taken up for settlement except for their reservation for a particular purpose. Land that was reserved for church and school purposes in the early days is, as honorable members may well suppose, very superior indeed, considering that the church (hen wielded such influence in the management of affairs at head-quarters. I should like also to direct attention to the report concerning the Carcoar-Garland site. Mr. Oliver estimates the cost of absolute resumption -
For the whole area, including Church and School lands, but excluding town of Carcoar - :it £200,00 ; or, at ^3 per acre, for 50,000 acres, outside municipal boundaries, and £35,000 for lands within those boundaries, £185,000.
Those figures allude to the site which has been specially selected as representing the western district. There is no reason whatever why honorable members should not consider the claims of any site in this district that would be equally as good and as convenient as that of CarcoarGarland. Canobolas is a most excellent site, and one that is deserving of considerable attention; but I should particularly like to say something for Wellington. Honorable members have referred to a considerable extent to Tooma, where the altitude runs from 1,200 feet up to 1,500 feet. But there is a much finer climate in the district of Wellington. Close at hand is Mount Arthur, which, as may be supposed, was named after the Duke of Wellington. The mountain overlooks the Town. The situation is not at all unlike that cif Montreal, where Mount Royal, from which the nairne of the city is derived, is close to it. There is a magnificent range of hills around the site. Perhaps that is the reason why it was not seriously considered by Mr. Oliver. It was not that the soil was inferior, or that the water supply was not adequate, but that the altitude within the town was not deemed by him to be commendable. But if climate is to be considered, there is a very much finer climate in the district of Wellington than at Tooma. The people there are healthy ; disease is not prevalent, and persons with weak lungs are sent there because of the salubrity of the climate. Major Barton wrote a report setting forth the case for Wellington, and I should like to say something about it, because this document throws some light upon other sites, and also because it affords information of a most acceptable character in the interests of those who are advocating the selection of a site in the western district. Mr. Oliver says -
The climate of Wellington is described by a very good judge, Mr. C. H. Barton, as one of the healthiest climates in the. world, though for four months in the year the heat is very great.
But it is not anything like so great as the heat at Adelaide, and I suppose that there is no finer climate in Australia than that of Adelaide.
For a period of eighteen years, the records of the Government Astronomer, show that during the Summer quarter, the mean temperature is 73’3 ; during the Autumn quarter, 53-3 ; during the Winter quarter, 497 ; and during the Spring quarter, 68 deg. The greatest recorded temperature reached 105*9, and the lowest 19.
Then, with respect to the rainfall, the report says -
The quarterly rainfalls during the same period are very regularly distributed, being 5’83, 6’30, 5*58, and 6”84 inches, showing for the year a rainfall of very nearly 25 inches.
It has to be remembered that that rain falls upon magnificent soil, at regular periods of the year, when it is most wanted.
The altitude of Wellington is 995 feet, and that of the proposed Federal territory averages 1,200 feet.
That is about the altitude of Tooma.
On this subject the evidence of the witness above quoted, Mr. Barton, went to show that the pretensions of Wellington to possess the Seat of Government depend mainly on the construction of the railway from Werris Creek, on the Northern line, to Wellington, and that, without that connexion, Wellington could not be considered accessible, so far as Brisbane is concerned - an objection which, in the opinion of the witness, is common to all the western sites; but that, if connected with Broken Hill and Werris Creek, Wellington would be a singularly central site, and would be very accessible to Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne. On this head, he produced the annexed Tables and Report.
These figures have been used by quite a number of plagiarists without acknowledgment. I have read newspaper articles published in all the States in which they have been quoted, but in very few of those articles have they been used for the purpose of advocating the western sites. They were brought forward to show that this large area was adjacent to the railways that might run from Western Australia, via South Australia, from South Australia, and from Queensland, into New South Wales, were a line built right across from Werris Creek, say, to the western line touching either at Dubbo or Wellington, and going on to Canobolas, if honorable members pleased, or on further to Carcoar-Garland. The district is so centrally situated that, were lines constructed in a judicious fashion on the western side of the Blue Mountains, one could go from Queensland to Victoria without going to Sydney. When these lines have been constructed to Cobar and Broken Hill, via Wilcannia, one will be able to go from the other States right through to the Federal city without touching at either Melbourne or Sydney. We should have a city all to ourselves right in the centre of New South Wales, and people from Brisbane could run right through to the Federal city, cutting off some 90 or 100 miles by avoiding Sydney. I refer honorable members to the following “Table of distances from Wellington railway station to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and Newcastle by railway lines now in existence “ : -
I specially direct the attention of honorable members who have .had so much to say upon the necessity of centrality to the following table of distances, because they will gather from it that we have here the most central part of the settled portion of the Commonwealth : -
Table of distance from Wellington railway station to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and Newcastle, with proposed connexions from Cobar to Broken Hill and Wellington to Werris Creek : -
The Public Works Committee of New South Wales has recently held quite a number of sittings in that district, and they have reported that if a line is constructed from Werris Creek to the western line, it will open up magnificent country in the locality of Cobbora. I am happy to be able to say that this large district is also in my electorate. The electorate covers 10,000 square miles, and though I speak with some little modesty, I may say that I think it is really the finest district in New South Wales. All the lines to which I have referred are within easy reach of these magnificent agricultural districts. Cobbora has not yet been established as an agricultural district, simply through lack of railway communication. When a railway is constructed from Werris Creek across to the western line, it will bring the land in that district under settlement. I have already referred honorable members to the yields of crops grown. I have said that last .year, in one or two cases, the yield of wheat went up ‘to as much .as 60 bushels an acre, and the average yield of the district was just upon 30 bushels to the acre. Throughout this district of mine there is grown the finest grain produced in the world. The Wellington flour secured the gold medal in London, and I mention that with some pride, because, although South Australia has hitherto always been the State which has produced the finest flour, this district secured the gold medal against even South Australia. All kinds of climate may be found in that wide district of the west. After passing the Blue Mountains there is a dip from 200 to 300 feet above the sea and up again to Canobolas, or, rather, to Orange - because Canobolas has an altitude of some 5,000 feet - to 3,000 feet. There is there to be found a magnificent climate and soil, and an abundant water supply. When I am talking to honorable members who are practical men, it is unnecessary to enter upon a long dissertation upon the possibilities of water conservation in a district in some parts of which there is a rainfall of 39 inches, and rivers running in all directions. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro smiles at this, but I am not speaking of Dalgety. I admit that the Snowy River is a magnificent river, but there are possibilities in the western district to which I refer which are not to be surpassed in any other part of Australia. I have heard honorable members ascend to poetry in describing some of the suggested sites ; but when one honorable member last night, in speaking about the western district, said it has not the undulations to be found in some other parts, I could not help thinking that Washington and St. Petersburg were established in swamps, and that Amsterdam was also established in a swamp, and that the Royal palace was built upon piles. I might refer honorable members to other great cities of the world that have been built on sites which are not to be compared with any of those in New South Wales which have been brought under the notice of the Committee. I am glad to see that the Postmaster-General approves of what I am saying. The honorable gentleman knows that the garden of Australia is to be found over the Blue Mountains, and that if honorable members desire to possess a Federal Capital which will do honour to the Commonwealth, they should establish it there.
– Put it at Wellington ; that is the place for it.
– The honorable gentleman’s lungs are not too strong, and I say. that the atmosphere of Wellington would prolong his life by twenty years. We know that Mr. Cecil Rhodes had but one lung when he went out to South Africa with the proverbial half-crown in his pocket, and in time he became a millionaire, and his lung was healed, because he lived in a dry atmosphere, similar to that to be found on Mount Arthur and the” mountainous country around Wellington. I do not seriously propose that the Seat of Government shall be located at Wellington, but I have referred to the district round about that town in order to show what magnificent country would be adjacent tothe Federal Capital, if it were established on the Carcoar-Garland site. Major C. H. L. Barton, writing on this subject, said -
Keeping in view the all-important part that coal plays in maritime warfare and commercial intercourse with other nations, also the desirability of our chief coaling centres being as near as possible to the point where, in time of war, the Federal troops would be mobilized (viz., the Federal Capital), it is a matter of vital importance, in the consideration of the question of accessibility, that the Wellington proposed site is (viâ Werris Creek) only 272 miles from Newcastle, and 152 miles from Lithgow. Due con. sideration under this section must also be given to the fact that, under our present arrangement of Colonial Governments, the respective railway systems of the Colonies have been devised and constructed with a view to the development and advancement of each individual Colony ; but it is reasonable to conclude that Federated Australia will gradually merge these railway systems into one, and that the future extension of the main trunk lines will become a national undertaking.
I had no intention of speaking at such” length; but, in conclusion, I wish to say that the people of New South Wales ask this Parliament to establish the Seat of Government within the western district. That district is just beyond the 100-miles radius provided for in the Constitution. It possesses good land, so that it is likely’ to become closely settled ; a magnificent water supply can be given to it; its climate is excellent ; and its selection would give general satisfaction to the people of the State. The Premier of New South Wales is now evincing considerable interest in this matter, and although it is quite possible that he may be routed at the poll, those who are likely to succeed him in office have pledged themselves to place the territory of which I am speaking at the disposal of the Federal Government for the establishment of the Seat of Government. All the Crown land known as the Church and School lands’ within that district will be made available to us. Mr. Carruthers, who is likely to succeed Mr. Waddell as Premier of New South Wales, has stated that he would be willing to place at the disposal of the Federal Government the land to which I refer.
– Mr. Carruthers has said . that he is strongly in favour of the Federal Capital being established in the Monaro district.
– If the western site is not chosen, I shall be in favour of establishing the Seat of Government at Dalgety, because of the excellence of the land there, the magnificent climate of the district, its scenery, of which Mount Kosciusko is such a glorious feature, and the splendid water supply which can be obtained. Therefore, if the western site is rejected, I shall vote for the next best site, which, in my opinion, is the Dalgety site. That site is within about 100 miles of the coast, and would, I think, be accepted by the people of New South Wales in the event of the western site being rejected. But I shall support the western site so long as I consider that it has a chance of being selected. I do not wish to stand in the way of a settlement of the question. If the roots of the Commonwealth Administration are established in Melbourne, there will be great difficulty in transplanting them elsewhere.
– Is the honorable member’s only reason for wishing for the settlement of the question his fear of the influence of Melbourne?
– No ; but that is one of my reasons. I might keep honorable members here all night if I stated all my reasons. I would point out, however, that the Government now rent a number of buildings in various parts of Melbourne, and they are receiving propositions from various quarters for the renting of other buildings. The result will be that before very long the private individuals and companies concerned will be using all their influence to keep the Seat of Government in Melbourne, and the Ministry will have a very plausible argument for postponing its removal elsewhere, in the fact that they will have entered into leases, having many years to run, of buildings for which they pay very high rents. That reason will, of course, commend itself to honorable members who, on the ground of economy, allege that it is necessary to wait a few years before building Federal offices in a Capital of our own. I am opposed to the Seat of Government remaining in Melbourne, as I should be opposed to its being placed in Sydney, for several reasons, of which the influence of the local press over the Parliament is one of the chief, while the second is the advantage which is given. to the State in whose capital the Federal Parliament meets. At the present time the representatives of Victoria could, at a critical moment, be all brought to the House within about fifteen minutes, and distant States, such as Western Australia and Queensland, whose members have to reside in Melbourne almost permanently, are also well represented. But the representatives of South Australia and New South Wales, who go to their homes at week ends, cannot always be recalled in less time than some days. . Consequently Victoria has an advantage over New South Wales, which, in my opinion, is equal to an additional representation of three members; and she has a proportional advantage over South Australia. If -we had a Seat of Government of our own, however, none of the States would have an advantage over the others in this respect. In conclusion, I urge that the compact made at the Premiers’ Conference with the Premier of New South Wales should be carried out, and the Seat of Government located within that State at a suitable site, as near as possible to the 100 miles radius of Sydney. I think that I have shown that the most suitable site available is at Lyndhurst, in the western district.
– I regret that this question has apparently been approached by some honorable members without a due acquaintance with the Constitution, and, perhaps, also without a full knowledge of the compact entered into at the time the Constitution Bill was submitted to a referendum. When the first Bill was presented to the people of Australia, no condition was made with regard to the Capital.
– And yet the people of New South Wales voted in favour of the Bill.
– Yes ; but not to the extent of the statutory majority. We must suppose that the condition imposed by the Parliament of New South Wales had the approval of the whole of the people. I quite admit that legislation has been passed in this Parliament which does not represent the will of the people; but if the honorable member were in favour of such legislation, he would contend that it was legislation by the people for the people, and, therefore, we must apply the same rule to the Federal referendum. In order to induce the people of New South Wales to accept the Constitution Bill, a proposal was made- that the Capital should be located in that ‘State. It is true that local jealousies prevented the Premiers from fixing upon Sydney, which, as the oldest capital city in Australia, should have been selected. From my point of view, the question should have been left open ; but we can deal only with the facts now presented to us. There is no doubt that a great many people in New South Wales thought that the Seat of Government should have been established at Sydney, and I am rather inclined to think that if the question had been submitted to the whole of the people of Australia, that site would have been chosen. However, we are now called upon to select a site in New South Wales, but distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney. I should like to draw attention to the wording of section 125 of the Constitution, which shows what was in the minds of the Premiers of the States who met in conference. I contend that the clear impression was that the Capital would be located at Sydney unless some limitation were imposed, and that, in order to prevent Sydney from being chosen, it was stipulated that the Capital city should be situated not less than 100 miles from that place. If any idea had been entertained that the Capital might be located on the border of New South Wales the section would have been differently worded, and would probably have contained a provision that the Capital should be situated within the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than 100 miles from the border of New South Wales and Victoria. It was clearly considered that an advantage would be conferred on New South Wales, because provision was made that such portion of the Federal territory as might consist of Crown land should be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment whatever.
– That was in consideration of the Capital being established in New South Wales.
– That was in consideration of the State of New South Wales receiving some advantage from the establishment of the Federal Capital within its territory.
– That is a different interpretation.
– In order to show that it was supposed that an advantage would be conferred on New South Wales. I would point out that it was further provided that, in return for the concession which New South Wales was to receive, the Parliament should sit at Melbourne until it met at the Seat of Government. Why were these two concessions made by New South Wales, unless it was thought that the Capital Site would be chosen as near as possible to Sydney, outside of the 100-miles limit ? I think that if we look at the provision in the proper spirit, we shall recognise that that was the idea and intention of those who drafted the section.
– Does not the honorable and learned member, think that it would have been better to establish the Federal Capital at Sydney rather than at some place beyond the 100-miles limit?
– My own opinion is that it would have been infinitely better to establish the permanent Seat of Government at either Sydney or Melbourne. These two cities are undoubtedly destined to become the greatest commercial centres in Australia, and I do not approve of a Federal Capital being created merely as a place of meeting for Members of Parliament. However, honorable members do not accept that view, and I do not think it is necessary to argue the matter.
– We have to abide by the Constitution.
– Exactly ; we are bound by the Constitution, and we cannot, except at considerable difficulty, secure its amendment. It is very questionable whether it would be worth our while to incur the clangers to which we should be exposed if we were to attempt to amend the Constitution in order to secure the adoption of Sydney as the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. We are not called upon to discuss that question at present, because w5 are preceding to act in conformity with the Constitution. In return for the concession to New South Wales regarding the Capital, it was agreed that the Parliament should meet, as it has been meeting, at Melbourne, and that all the Crown lands within the Federal territory should be granted by the New South Wales Government free of charge, and it is obvious that it was intended that if any advantage could be given to New South Wales by the selection of the Capital site, within her borders, then only such a site should, be selected as would confer that advantage upon her. It may be that the advantage will not be a very valuable one. Some honorable members assert . that wherever the Federal Capital may be situated no advantage will be conferred upon New South Wales. That, however, is hardly the question. The point is whether, in the opinion of the people of New South Wales, any advantage would be conferred upon them. As they have agreed to pay the price, and are already paying part of that price, they are now asking that in the selection of the site the advantage of locality shall, as far as possible, be conferred upon ham. 7 Viewed from this standpoint, the selection of a site, such as Tooma, which, by the shortest means of communication, is situated 430 miles from Sydney, as against only 270 miles ffrom Melbourne, would, in the minds of the great majority of the people of New South Wales, involve a violation of the spirit of the compact. .
– The honorable and learned member’s figures are wrong. We should have to go round by Cootamundra if we were proceeding from Melbourne.
– Oh, no ; persons travelling from Melbourne to Tooma would go by way of Tallangatta. A coach journey would be involved in either case. Even if railways were constructed to bridge the sixty miles from Tallangatta to Tooma, and the fifty-eight miles from Germanton to Tooma, the distances would still be 430 miles from Sydney, and 280 miles from Melbourne.
– Tooma is 368 miles from Melbourne by way of Cootamundra and Tumut.
– But, surely, it is not to be supposed that persons travelling from Melbourne would proceed by rail 100 miles up and 100 miles back again, because a coach journey would have to be undertaken even if the roundabout route were selected. I am taking into consideration the existing lines of railway and the practicable routes by which the mails are now conveyed, and there is a great deal to be said in favour of that system of measurement. If the honorable member had ever been through that country he would know-
– How far is it from Sydney to Tumut?
– It is about 330 miles.
– The exact distance is 322 -miles.
– Speaking of this question, Mr. Chesterman says -
The Yass-Tumut-Welaregang loop line would bring the present suggested site within, approximately, 341 miles of Sydney, while the BowningColacGadaraWelaregang loop would bring it within, approximately, 360 miles of Sydney.
I have no hesitation in affirming that a railway could not be constructed through that country under £25.000 per mile. If a line were built direct from Yass to Tumut, through that country, its cost would not be less than £50,000 per mile.
– Such a railway would be practically impossible.
– Yes. I was engaged In surveying that district for some time, so that I know what I am speaking about. When I mention that surveying work costs 100 per cent, more than the ordinary scale of fees in that country, although it is lightly timbered, and simply because it is so precipitous anfl hilly, honorable members will understand- its character. Consequently, I put railway construction quite out of the question. . Nobody who has ever been through that country will imagine that it is practicable to build a railway through it without tunnelling pretty well the whole distance. It is scarcely necessary, therefore, to discuss the matter from that standpoint. I ask those honorable members who are anxious to see effect given to the spirit of the Constitution, to regard it from that stand-point. If any advantage is to be gained by New South Wales from having the Capital established in her midst, that advantage should be conceded as some return for the Parliament having met in Melbourne during the past three years. Whilst I admit that the site upon the Upper Murray is one of the most picturesque which can be found, and that some of the land surrounding it is very rich, I still think that honorable members who speak lightly of the work of constructing a railway from Tumut to Tooma, have not considered the real difficulties to be encountered. I would merely point out that if a line were built from a point situated ten miles to the northern side of Tumut, up the Gilmore Creek, and then down again, it would be running practically the whole time upon an old volcanic range. At one time, no doubt, there was a considerable area of that country, but it has been washed away, so that to-day only the remains of the old volcanic range exist. Starting from an altitude of 1,000 feet, it would be necessary for any railway which might be built to rise to a height of 3,270 feet.
– Is the honorable and learned member satisfied that that is the altitude ?
– I am accepting the statement of Mr. Chesterman. When I was asked some question, in regard to this matter last session, I said that the altitude was about 3,000 feet. Mr. Chesterman, however, declares that the height of the gap above sea- level is 3,270 feet. That altitude was taken by means of an aneroid, and would probably be within 10 feet of the exact height. I repeat that if a railway were constructed it would require to rise 2,000 feet in the short distance of twenty-five miles, and to fall again to the same extent upon the other side. When I tell the Committee that the country to be traversed is all of a volcanic nature - that it is practically a narrow range - honorable members will understand that the work would present difficulties which, whilst not insuperable to an engineer, would involve such an enormous expenditure as would practically place it outside the region of probability-
– Would it not be always a slow line?
– I am bound to say that on account of the cuttings and short curves which would be necessary - certainly it would be impossible to have more than ten chains curves - it would be . a very slow line to travel upon, and a very expensive one to construct. Speaking generally, I do not “think that such a line could be built for less than the estimated cost of constructing a railway upon the Victorian side. I know that some time ago a rough survey was made of a railway seventy miles in length, starting from Tallangatta, and that its cost was set down at £13,000 per mile.
– I was informed recently by the Railway Department that it could now be constructed for £6,000 per mile.
– If that be so. all I can say is that it is an extremely moderate estimate. Personally, I would prefer to accept the figures which were given in the first instance, because, moderate as is the original estimate in connexion with a railway, our experience , is that it is invariably exceeded by the actual expenditure.
– The honorable member is referring to the estimate of 1884, which is known as our “ boom “. estimate. It has since been reduced by 50 per cent.
– Of course the honorable member knows that country very well, whereas it is many years since I passed through it. Nevertheless, . I think that such a railway would be fairly expensive. Even if it could be built for £13,000 per mile I am confident that a” line upon the other side could not be’ constructed for less than double that amount.
– To which railway, on the other side, does the honorable and learned member refer?
– To the line from Gadara Gap viâ the Gilmore Valley, thence round the range by Laurel Hill.
– Would that line cost more to construct than the other ?
M r . CO NROY. - Undoubtedly .
– One horse will draw 15 cwt. in a team from Tumut to Tumberumba.
– The fact remains that, within a’ distance of twenty-five miles, the railway would require to rise 2.000 feet, and to fall again. If the honorable member can overcome that difficulty I will enter into a partnership with him, and we shall be able to revolutionize the carrying trade of the world.
– There is a railway over the Alps in Switzerland.
– What was the expenditure per mile upon its construction? I presume that the honorable member does not say that this line could be constructed without tunnelling?
– I should tunnel wherever the gradient rendered it necessary to do so.
– I do not say that it is impossible to construct this railway. All I contend is that it is impracticable, because of the expenditure that would be incurred, and because of the small traffic which it would carry.
– I do not agree with the honorable and learned member.
– The honorable member will find scarcely any engineer in New South Wales or Victoria to agree with him. I would further point out that if this Parliament decides to acquire any area along the border of Victoria, or any other State, it will be doing something which section 123 of the Constitution clearly prohibits it from doing. That section provides -
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 a 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 ma)’, 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.
It will thus be seen that it was never contemplated that any alteration should be effected in the boundaries of a State. In any case, we could not do what has’ been suggested without first getting the consent of the Parliament of New South Wales ; and, secondly, the approval of its people. Nearly twelve months ago I pointed this out !o the House when a proposal was submitted to extend the Federal territory from the Mumimbidgee to the Murray. The more I have considered the matter since, the more confirmed have I become in my opinion. Last night the honorable member for South Sydney also pointed out the effect of that provision. We can only overcome that section by refusing to extend our boundary to the Murray-
– By making a chain road between.
– As the honorable member says, by making a chain road between. If we did anything of that character, we should conclusively show that we were violating the spirit of the Constitution. If we left a strip of land between the Victorian border and the Federal territory, it would clearly demonstrate that we were contravening the spirit of the Constitution.
– If we left such a strip of land, it would be urged that the
Federal territory was hemmed in by NewSouth Wales.
– I am certain that it is beyond our power to alter the limits of any State. The Constitution distinctly declares that we cannot increase the area of a- State.
– Neither can we diminish it.
– If we touched the boundary we should also diminish the limits of the State.
– Even if we selected a sit? in the centre of the State we should alter its limits.
– I am sure that if the honorable member consults members of the legal profession he will find that my statement is well founded- I have no doubt that the High Court would place this interpretation on the provision. The wording of section 123 is so clear that it cannot be avoided. It was for that reason that it did not appear to me that we ought to enter into the question of the selection of Tooma as fully as we otherwise might have done. A certain price has been paid by New South Wales to secure the alvantage of having the Capital within its boundaries.
– A certain price?
– Yes; the price paid was that the Parliament should meet at Melbourne until the establishment of the Federal Capital.
– Victoria has paid £70,000 for that privilege.
– I do not propose to discuss that question, because I have from the first held that such a provision should not have been placed in the bond. It is in the Constitution, however, and we have to deal with things as they are. We must recognise the compact, not as we, in the light of the fuller experience of to-day, would have made it, but as agreed to “by the two great contracting parties. I ask that it should be as far as possible carried out. In my opinion, Tooma is not an accessible site, and many years must elapse before it will be connected with the railway system of the State. Accessibility is one of the chief factors to be considered in making a selection, and the only reason why I do not place Dalgety first in the list in this respect is that, while some honorable members say that it will be connected with the Victorian railway system by a railway line running from Bairnsdale, it’ does not seem to me that such a railway is within the realm of practicable work.
– Why put accessibility first?
– I deem it to be the first consideration, and shall give my reasons for that belief. If the Capital be not established in a readily accessible position the whole of the correspondence of the Commonwealth will be delayed sometimes for half-a-day, or more. Are we to subject the people to this disability, merely because honorable members have a love of the artistic, and are anxious to be able, on leaving Parliament House after their day’s labour, to survey some beauty spot in the neighbourhood? We are not to make a selection from a purely artistic point of view. Art arises only when a nation has reached a high stage of civilization, and our first consideration should be the interests of the great bulk of the people.
– Are we to legislate for the convenience of legislators, or for tha convenience of the people ?
– We certainly ought not to study the mere convenience of honorable members. I for one have no desire to consider the interests of legislators by voting for the selection of a site merely because it would be a pleasant, pretty, and comfortable place in which to reside. My idea of a Legislature is that it should be composed of a body of men who meet together for the purposes of business. If they can carry on the business of the country, and, at the same time, devote a certain degree of attention to artistic surroundings, well and good ; but mere beauty of surroundings should not be the main factor in the determination of this question. One of the reasons why I have a liking for Dalgety is that it is fairly accessible, and that ‘if it were selected, New South Wales would have no serious cause of complaint, because she would be called upon to construct only a very short line, forming part of a railway of which the State Parliament has already practically approved. The selection of that site would therefore not be open to the same objection as would attach to the choosing of one ‘ of the other suggested sites which the New South Wales Parliament has never even thought of connecting with the railway system of the State. If we consider Dalgety from the point of view of water supply, it unquestionably stands before Tooma, or any other site. No doubt Tooma possesses a fairly good water supply* but its climate is practically the same as that of Table Top, a site which has already been rejected by this House.
– Who says that it is the same?
– I do, and the honorable member knows that my statement is correct.
– It is eighty miles nearer the snow line.
– Its elevation is somewhat less than that of Table Top. Albury is situated in a valley, and Welaregang is just at the entrance to it. I may tell the honorable member that maize and pumpkins and tobacco will grow fairly well in the valley. Tumut is also a place at which tobacco might be grown, but at certain seasons the climate is not that which one would select as the most desirable. I pointed this out when the matter was under consideration last session, but my remarks were not treated as being worthy of that attention which I thought they ought to receive. Subsequently a number of honorable members visited Tumut, and on that occasion found the weather so hot rthat most of them have since told me that my description of it was a perfectly fair one. We know that that one visit caused a number of honorable members to change their opinion as to the suitability of that site. If honorable members visit Welaregang, or any part of the Upper Murray district, they will find that the valley is very close during the summer season. I spent some time in the district, and found no difference between the climate there and that of Tumut. The mountains are nearer Welaregang than Tumut, but both places are situated in a valley, and during the summer it is very’ close.
– One trip to Welaregang would have the same effect on honorable members as the inspection of Tumut had upon those who formed the parliamentary party.
– They will find it extremely close at night. That was my experience, although I slept in a tent.
– The same statement would apply to Melbourne.
– In some respects that is so.
– It would certainly be true of Sydney.
– Quite so; I should not have mentioned the point but for the fact that a number of honorable members visited Welaregang at the most favorable time of the year.
– It was raining during our inspection; there was not much pleasure about the trip.
– I have referred to the climate at Tooma, becav.se it has been suggested that it is perfect.
– There is not much wrong with any of the sites, so far as climate is concerned.
– I confess that, had there been a ready means of communition with Dalgety, I should have been disposed to favour its selection, although I should have thought that in choosing it we might, perhaps, be going a little beyond the spirit of the bond.
– It is only thirty miles from Cooma.
– Yes. The construction of a line to Dalgety has, I have already mentioned, been approved by the State Parliament; but when the bend was entered into it was never imagined that New South Wales would be called upon to construct a railway line to the Federal Capital. No exception could be taken on that ground, however, to the selection of Dalgety, because I feel satisfied that a r ail way will be constructed to it as part of a scheme to eventually connect Bombala with the State railway system. Therefore the objection which I have to the selection of Tooma does not apply to Dalgety. But, in spite of the last-named site being preeminent in the matter of water supply, I think that it labours uncier other disabilities which debar its selection. Honorable members coming from Victoria to the Federal Capital would have, for scores of years, to travel on the main line as far as Goulburn, and then to travel by the branch line to Cooma.
– Not for scores of vears.
– I am afraid that would be the case. I do not think that if Dalgety were selected a railway line would be constructed, in our time, from Bairnsdale over the mountains to the Federal Capital.
– What would be the cost of such a lire?
– Over £20,000 permile.
– I should like to have a contract to make it at that rate.
– I could make such . a contract pay, provided that I should not be called upon to run any engines over the line.
– Does not the honorable member think that £20,000 a mile would be quite sufficient to cover the cost?
– Many railways have cost double that amount per mile. I think it would be cheaper in the long run to pay even more than £20,000 a mile for the construction of the line, in order to secure a thoroughly reliable one. If the line were well built, a saving would be effected both in speed and haulage.
– What is the greatest height over which a railway line from Bairnsdale would have to be carried?
– It is not so much one height, as a succession of rises, that would have to be surmounted, whilst- the small rivers running down to the coast would also have to be bridged. If Lyndhurst were selected, no expense would be incurred in the matter of railway construction, and that in itself is a very important factor. I agree with the right honorable member for Swan, who said that the climate of Lyndhurst was probably better than that of any of the other sites.
– I do not think I said that. I said that they were about equal.
– Then I will take it at that. I would draw the attention of honorable members, who are anxious to secure closer settlement in the Federal territory, to the fact that the area of good land in the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst is certainly greater than in the vicinity of Dalgety.
– Is there any good land around Dalgety?*
– Some of the land in the neighbourhood is good.
– A few garden patches.
– There are two stations in the district, which comprise 100,000 acres of good land. Are they garden patches?
– It has been pointed out that, so far as good land is concerned, a greater area can be obtained here than at any of the other sites. The report of the right honorable member for Swan was an extremely fair one, that gentleman appearing to be absolutely free from prejudice or bias. There is another reason why Lyndhurst may be very favorably considered. I think that the right honorable member for Swan will agree that at Lyndhurst there could be obtained a far better water supply than would appear from the reports. The supply has been put at the low estimate of 8 per cent., but this was only calculated on the rainfall of Lyndhurst itself. On the true catchment area, above Lynd hurst, the rainfall, I should say, is nearly 10 inches more than at the township. The estimate of 8 per cent, is, in my opinion, extremely moderate, in view of the allowance of 32 per cent. at Yan. Yean, and 50 per cent. at Prospect. I am informed, however, thai the rain gauges are not numerous enough to afford a thoroughly accurate record; and,., therefore,. I would place the estimate al half, or 25 per cent., which should give an enormously increased number of gallons over the estimates which have been supplied. It seems to me that, under the circumstances, Lyndhurst offers many advantages in the matter of climate, accessibility, and good soil; and I do not know what further advantages are required. I cannot say that I agree with honorable members who favour Tooma simply because of the picturesqueness of the locality. If honorable members wish to have merely a pleasure resort, it would be far better for them to advocate that site merely on that ground, and not attempt to show that it is a place suitable for the transaction of parliamentary business.
– That is only one of the claims on behalf of Tooma.
– But in all other respects Tooma seems to fall behind the other sites. It certainly is hot very accessible
– It can be approached up the Murray Valley quite easily.
– I have already dealt with that aspect of the suitability of the Tooma -site. Under the circumstances, there appear to be only Dalgety and Lyndhurst from which we may make a choice. The Federal Capital ought to be on the main railway line between Sydney and Melbourne - it should be as accessible as possible. Although Melbourne presents all the attractions of a city, we do not find that members of the Commonwealth Par liament make their homes here.
– What site does the honorable and learned member regard as the best ?
– I have just said that the Federal Capital ought to be on the main line; but, as the question has been put to me, I may say that, in my opinion, a site near Lake George could, at a moderate expense, have been made suitable.
– What about Yass?
– That site is also on the main line, and Mr. Oliver, after careful consideration, placed it first in his estimation.
– Then why does the honorable and learned member not advocate Yass ?
– Because, Yass happens to be in my electorate, and were I to advocate it, honorable members might think that I was particularly interested. I have drawn attention to .the advantages of Yass, and we have the reports of the Commissioners; and it is not for me to attempt to unduly influence honorable members. There is no doubt that, failing Dalgety or Lyndhurst, we might fall back on a place like Yass, which is within easy reach of ihe two great Capital cities, and is a place where the mails can be delivered every day without delay. This matter of mail delivery is most important. There will be a large amount of business at the Federal Capital, owing to the concentration of public offices; and there ought to be no more delay than is actually necessary in the delivery of the mails. Even in. Melbourne we find complaints on this . score ; but to go to a place where there might be further delay would only be to create another cause of dissatisfaction. Once the Capital is chosen, difficulties of the nature I am now indicating could not be removed. If it is necessary to have a picturesque site, we might go to Lake George, a site which, as I have already said, could be made acceptable at a very moderate expenditure. In addition, Lake George would have the advantage of a harbor like Jervis Bay, which is the best on the whole coast of Australia, with the exception of Port Jackson. For these reasons, if there is any difficulty, some compromise might be arranged ; and, even at this late stage, we ought to bear in mind that accessibility is the main consideration. Parliament will meet at the Federal Capital for the purpose of very serious business, and it would be wrong to make the selection with regard merely to picturesqueness. We must first consider accessibility and centrality ; and having these assured, we ought to select the most pleasant spot available. It is unfortunate that when honorable members visited Lake George there had been a very severe drought throughout Australia, and the lake was dry ; but similar conditions had not prevailed since the years 1837-9, when a drought of similar magnitude occurred. So far as I can learn, though I do not commit myself to this statement, there is a feasible scheme for conveying water into Lake George, and thus prevent a recurrence of the drying up.
– That is a very difficult question to determine.
– In the meantime, we might easily get a report, and thus place honorable members in a much better position to decide than they are in at present in ‘ regard to, say, Tooma.
– The greatest engineers have been mistaken on such points.
– It is a matter of levels. I have been assured that the levels taken are absolutely correct, and it has been reported by our own . Commissioners that a gravitation water supply could be arranged to feed the lake. That, however, is a point on which I do not wish to dwell too much. What I desire to emphasize is that in our eagerness for the picturesque or the artistic, we are getting away from the useful. If honorable members are not disposed to spend the whole of their time in Melbourne, it would be even more difficult to induce them to stay in a place where there are not the advantages of a city. For many years the Federal Capital must be very little more than a village. We must bear in mind that the Constitution distinctly shows that whatever State advantage may attach to the determination of this question should be conferred on New South Wales; and the fact that as a price of Federation New South Wales was asked to give up the claims of the capital city of the mother State to be the place of meeting of the first Federal Parliament, alone shows that every consideration should be given to that State. If we exclude Yass and Lake George, we have Dalgety and Lyndhurst left; but I trust that, even at this late stage, the two former sites will receive consideration.
– I am one who believes that we should not only consider the letter, but also the spirit of the Constitution. I am unable, however, to follow the arguments of some of the representatives from New South Wales in their contention that the proposed Federal Capital should be as near Sydney as the Constitution permits. So far as I can’ remember, the request by New South Wales that the Federal Capital should be within her territory was almost entirely sentimental. It was not possible, as was apparent during the Convention debates, that the mother city of Australia, Sydney, should be the Capital of the Commonwealth. The concession that, the Capital should be in New . South Wales was merely made, because of the feeling of. the New South Wales people that the older State should be honoured in that respect. I believe that the Federal Capital should not be established in one of the large commercial or industrial centres. In that respect both Sydney and Melbourne have been put out of the question, and very wisely so. Those of us who have been members of the Federal Parliament from its inception, must have found at various times that our presence in this large industrial and commercial centre has not always been fraught with the best results to legislation. No matter where we go, if we settle in a large industrial centre, it will be found that the same circumstances will surround the making of legislation. As a matter of fact, the two countries whose conditions most nearly resemble our own - namely, the United States and Canada - have both been compelled to remove their capitals from the large centres to what appeared at the time of the removal to be remote villages. The people of the United States were obliged to remove their capital first from Philadelphia, and latterly from New York, to a situation that was denounced at the time as being absolutely in the wilderness, and inaccessible. Again the people of Canada were compelled, by force of circumstances - the particular circumstance immediately operative being no less than the burning of Parliament buildings by an excited mob - to remove from Montreal to the present position at Ottawa. Those who consider what the surroundings of a legislative body ought to be, will not, I believe, have any hesitation in adopting the wise view taken by those who drew up our Constitution, which requires the Federal Capital to be somewhere other than in one of our large cities. In -determining this question we have - more perhaps than in regard to any other question which we have yet discussed - a very great responsibility indeed devolving upon us. Any legislation that we have yet enacted can be altered by this Parliament. Alterations would necessitate no great sacrifices; and, as a matter of fact, any modification of any of our existing Acts would be undertaken by this Parliament with very little hesitation. But if we decide upon the Federal Capital, and the necessary work is undertaken ; and if by-and-by we remove to the selected place and establish the Seat of Government there, the chances are that we shall have taken an irrevocable step in the history of Australia. However unwise the choice may have been, it will be one that in all probability the people of the Commonwealth will have to abide by. Therefore, we ought to be particularly careful to make the best choice possible. I regret a good many of the arguments that have been put forward ; they have been too provincial. The honorable member for Robertson incidentally referred to the position of the Western Australian members in this Parliament, and made the astounding statement that those members were in some way responsible for the burden of taxation which New South Wales at present has to carry. That statement does not require any refutation from me. Those who wish to have a refutation of it will find it in the pages of Hansard, when the Tariff was being discussed. I thinkI can claim for myself, and for the other representatives of the Western State, that wt approach this question with minds absolutely free from any State prejudice, or any consideration of conserving State interests. It is a very good thing indeed for the Commonwealth that we are able to approach the question in that way., and I can only regret that our numbers are not stronger, so as to counteract what appears to me to be the provincial spirit manifested by some honorable members - a spirit which may operate to the detriment of the best interests, of the Commonwealth. It has been argued that the first consideration ought to be accessibility. I am unable to adopt that view. I ‘ have mentioned that Washington was selected as the site for the capital of the United States against the wishes of a large number of people residing in the large centres of population. I hold in my hand an extract from a document that will be found amongst the papers of the United State.-; Senate. It was printed in 1889, and forms portion of a report of a committee of the Columbia Historical Society upon the question of the transfer of the Federal Capital to the Columbian territory. It says -
The national capital was created in the wilderness one hundred years ago. Its magnificent distances were once a name of thoughtless ridicule, but are none too ample for a thronging population in an age when distance is almost annihilated.
Washington, as we all know, is no longer inaccessible.
Mr.J oseph Cook. - That passage is poetry ; it is not prose.
– If it be poetry, it is the production of a very prosaic committee, and is simply an indication of the fact that statesmen will occasionally rise even to the poetic level. A hundred years hence, if an Australian Capital is established on some sunburnt uninteresting plain, such as is being argued for on the mere ground of accessibility, I can imagine people who are compelled to traverse that part of the country, asking in astonishment what the reasons were for making that miserable little village the Capital site. I can imagine also their disgust on being informed that what determined the selection was proximity to an existing railway line. I should say that of itself would, in the eyes of future generations of Australia, be a sufficient condemnation of this Parliament. I for one am not inclined to adopt the idea that accessibility should be the first consideration. It is merely a tern,porary consideration at the very best. Although some honorable members have referred scornfully to the necessity for having flying machines to reach some of the suggested Capital sites, I would remind them that perhaps in another hundred years flying machines may be just as common as bic-des. and that members of the Commonwealth Parliament may be wending their way to and from the Capital on flying machines, with much less danger to tha lieges than is at present- occasioned by the progress of some of the members of this House through the streets of Melbourne 011. their motor-cars. I regard other considerations as of much more importance than accessibility. Although I may be, and frequently am, put down as a very prosaic individual, and as belonging to a very matteroffact race, I certainly am one of those who think that scenery and natural environment in a Capital city ought to be a very important consideration indeed. We are told that if we require scenery, and a beautiful natural environment, those requirements will take us amongst the mountains. Proximity to mountains is, in the opinion of some honorable members, sufficient to put any site out of court. But I am not sure but that our duty as a national Parliament lies in the direction of establishing the Federal Capital - other things being equal - in mountainous territory. I will give my reasons for thinking so. Australia is usually regarded as a flat country. The more densely populated portions of Australia are undoubtedly flat districts. But an 1 entirely erroneous impression of Australia as a whole is conveyed in this way. We have mountainous districts of very considerable extent indeed; and you would not have to draw a radius to any great distance from Kosciusko as a centre to include a mountainous territory equal to ; the whole of Switzerland. I think that any one who has read history will admit very willingly the part which the people of mountainous countries have played in the struggle for independence, and in the general advance of civilization. It seems to me, indeed, that if we leave out of consideration the work done by thos? nations who inhabit mountainous countries, we disregard very much of what has tended to the enlightenment and the freedom that we now enjoy. If that is so, it is a very fair argument that almost a duty lies upon this national Parliament to do something towards opening’ up our mountainous country, and planting there a population which will have the characteristics of those races- who live in such surroundings. It is no mere accident that the people of these mountainous countries possess exceptional qualities.
– Is the honorable member referring to the Scotch?
– I am not at present referring to any people in particular. I am able to give many more instances in support of what I say than the one which the honorable and learned member mentions. Examples are to be seen all over the world. If we take the people of .Norway, of Switzerland, of the mountainous region in the magnificent little country of Montenegro, and lastly, but by no means least, if we take the people of Scotland, we shall find characteristics in the people of each of those nationalities that seem specially to belong to races who inhabit a mountainous country - a sturdy independence, a love of freedom, a virility which is not found in the same degree amongst races who inhabit flat areas. Let us take the description of the Bengalee, which is to be found in Macaulay’s magnificent essay, and compare it with the well known character of the Gourkahs of Nepaul. We shall find a direct antithesis in the characteristics of those two races. They belong unquestionably to the same type/ but the one race inhabiting the flat, low-lying districts of Bengal is but a miserable sample of humanity, while the Gourkahs are noted as possessing some of the finest characteristics to be found in any section of humanity. I think that at the present time we have a particularly favorable opportunity to open up and settle the mountainous country of Australia. If we can obtain what we require in those districts, and if we can succeed in attracting population to them, I, for one, will very readily put aside all other considerations. The mere question of accessibility, viewed in that light, is reduced to very unimportant dimensions indeed. If, in addition to this consideration we can secure natural beauty, a magnificent water supply, and splendid soil, I take it that we have very weighty evidence in favour of the selection of a site in the uplands of Australia. In the last Parliament I gave a vote, on these considerations, for the Monaro Tableland ; but on this occasion I intend to alter my vote, without prejudice in the least to Monaro, because I still think a very great deal of that part of the country as a possible Federal Capital Site, but because there is another district which I think ought to be reported on by experts before we come to a final decision. It is a district which I admit has been brought forward at a somewhat late hour, but it is nevertheless entitled to some consideration. It has been said several times in this Chamber that the honorable member for Hume has a great many sites in his electorate, and that he has been particularly adroit in retreating from one to another as each has been discovered to be unfavorable, and that, finally in his selection of Tooma he has been able to secure the assistance of many who went on a picnic with him to that part of the country. I wish to say that I went on a visit to that part of the country, and it was not by any means a picnic. It was a very unpleasant experience indeed, so far as my personal comfort was concerned. I think that even the right honorable member for East Sydney, who designated the trip as a picnic, would have shown a good deal of dissatisfaction with the condition of the elements, and sometimes even with the eatables and drinkables that were placed before us on that trip. I feel sure that if I were to refer to the right honorable gentleman as having enjoyed a picnic on the top of Mount Canobolas on a certain occasion he would very strongly deprecate such a reference. A couple of years ago I saw the right honorable gentleman near the top of Mount Canobolas, sitting with a glass of gingerale in his hand, and a½d.tin oof corned beef on the ground in front of him. I am quite sure that that was no picnic for the right honorable gentleman. I can say honestly that the latest trip I took to inspect’ a Federal Capital Site was much more unpleasant than the one I made to the top of Mount Canobolas in company with the right honorable member for East Sydney. I considered it my duty to look at this portion of the country, but not on the representations of the honorable member for Hume. That honorable gentleman certainly .spoke to me on the subject, as he had a right to do ; but I candidly confess that if I had had only his word in recommendation of this particular district, I should have taken it with a considerable discount, knowing that the honorable gentleman is naturally interested in that part of the country, and that he would consequently be unconsciously biased in its favour. I went to Tooma largely on the recommendation of the honorable member for Grampians, who, like myself, is perfectly disinterested in this matter. I must say that I am exceedingly glad I took the trip, and saw for myself what is to be seen in that part of the Commonwealth. I have no desire to attempt a description of the visit, but I am bound to confess that in driving up that valley, and on to the rolling uplands of the Tooma site; I found country which, from a picturesque point of view, I never had expected to discover in Australia. . The view of Mount Kosciusko to be had from the Welaregang station is one which I think few people, no matter how prosaic their temperament, could behold unmoved. Ridge after ridge rose in a gradual succession of terraces from the river, and above all towered the mighty mountain, his magnificent shoulders clothed with a beautiful mantle of white, which, when we saw it, was glittering in the sunshine, as if sprinkled with diamonds. I say that if a report on that site would show it to be favorable in all other respects, then the beauty of its environment is something of which this Parliament, Australia as a whole, and the future generations of Australia would have every reason to be proud. I do not absolutely pledge myself to that site. I desire to have the necessary expert evidence as regards detail of which no honorable member on an ordinary visit could make himself master. But, so far as I could see, we had there almost every requirement that could be desired for a Federal Capital. The land is magnificent, and the water supply would, I think, beyond question, be ample”. Within a few miles we could find an almost tropical climate along the river flats, and on the uplands a bracing atmosphere that I have not experienced since I left Scotland. On the flats there could be produced nearly all forms of tropical vegetation.
– What is the climate like?
– There are all sorts of climate in that district. There is a tropical climate along the river flats, and we could rise to elevations where we should have a degree of cold which, as I say, I did not expect to find anywhere in Australia. As regards productions, we could have a corresponding variety. We could have almost tropical vegetation along the river flats ; along The slopes w<; could have sub-tropical products; whilst on the uplands we should be able to grow vegetables and fruits of the colder zones which can only be raised with extreme difficulty in most portions of Australia. I take it that it is a most important consideration for us that, within a very few miles, we could, in that part of Australia, have such a large variety of climate and production. In conclusion I would urge upon the Committee that a further opportunity should be afforded honorable members for a close inspection of the locality. I feel sure that the visit would be one which honorable members would enjoy, and it would, I think, be to most of them the entry into a territory such as many imagine cannot be found in Australia at all. I shall vote as I have alrea’dy indicated, not because I wish to commit myself to the selection of this site, but because I recognise that in another place a vote has been cast for Dalgety, and that if a majority can be secured for Tooma in this House, there will be that consideration given to the district which it deserves, and which I hope it will receive. I trust that in our deliberations on this important matter we shall continually keep before us our responsibility to the Commonwealth, and to the future generations of Australia.
– I do not propose to deal at any great length with this question, but since I possess a fairly intimate knowledge of the country comprised in the only three sites likely to receive practical consideration - the Murray site, the Tumut site, and the Lyndhurst site - I feel it incumbent upon me to reply to some of the statements which have been made about them. Considerable stress has been laid on the fact that the Tooma site has only recently been brought under notice. But may I remind honorable members that when the last Bill was before us, I, with others, voted for the Tumut site on the clear understanding that the Tooma site would be reported .on.
– Why was not that site reported on?
– It may have been because of the native modesty of the then Minister of Home Affairs, in whose electorate Tooma is situated, and who had other sites in his electorate. But, at any rate, he gave us to understand that the site should be reported on. The knowledge which I have gained in regard to the various districts of which I am about to speak is not the result of recent observations, because I had not the privilege of visiting them with other honorable members, but of my experience in travelling through them, generally with stock, more than twenty years ago. The information which I possess has not been gained by a hurried glance. I have spent as much as a month in travelling from Tumut to Welaregang through Tumberumba, and I have been from Welaregang up the Murray towards Mount Kosciusko. I spent as much as three months on the station on which the Dalgety site is situated. I have . also travelled repeatedly through the Bombala district, and through the Lyndhurst district. A good deal has been said about the price which was demanded by New South Wales for joining the Union, and some honorable members have gone so far as to claim that the Parliament of that State should select the Federal territory. My reading of the Constitution, however, is that the first step to be taken is for this Parliament to select a territory which will embrace an area suitable for the site of the Seat of Government, and that the site of the city should be afterwards chosen. I understand that what is now proposed is that we shall select the Federal territory, and not the site of the Seat of Government. That, I think, is the proper course to follow.
– All the information which has been laid before us refers to sites, not to territory.
– I am aware that the information in our possession is incomplete, and that there are conflicting statements in regard to the various sites. I propose to rely for confirmation of the views I shall express on what I hold to be the best and most reliable authority - the report of the Royal Commission appointed at the instance of this Parliament to investigate the matter. It has been remarked that the possibilities of the Tooma site are an after consideration ; but I would point out that the possibilities of the Dalgety site are also an after consideration. When the matter was last dealt with, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro spoke enthusiastically about Bombala. According to him, there was no other spot in Australia so well adapted to be the site of the Seat of Government. Now, however, we hear nothing about Bombala. Instead, a little spot on a bend of the Snowy River, termed the Dalgety site, has been chosen. The Federal Commissioners, however, tell us that the country there is treeless, and that it requires two acres of it to feed a sheep. The only timber within a considerable distance of Dalgety is that growing on a low ridge of hills wh’ich somewhat shelters the site from the west.
– That is not so.
– I have for three months at a time ridden against the biting winds which blow over that desert country - and I am not speaking of its midwinter climate. Even the river flats will not grow timber. At any rate, no timber grows there now.
– The proposed site is not situated on the river flats.
– Of course not. If the city were placed there, its buildings would be continually washed away by floods. However, let us hear what the Commissioners have to say on the subject. This is a quotation from their supplementary report -
The appearance of the Site, which, even on the river banks, is almost entirely destitute of timber, does not suggest the idea that parks and gardens would flourish ; but the local witnesses are unanimous in their belief that all the trees adapted to temperate climates could be grown.
The only belt of timber within twenty miles of the locality is that growing on the ridge of hills beween Beloka and the Mowamba River, from which it is proposed to obtain the water supply of the Federal Capital.
– Why does not timber grow there?
– For one reason, the place is too bleak.
– In Queensland there are vast areas of very fertile land on which no trees are growing.
– I account for that by climatic conditions. In the western plains of New South Wales there are also immense areas, which, given a good rainfall, would be extremely productive, but there is practically no timber there.
– The Riverina district is also treeless.
– Yes. But in addition to being bleak, there are also large outcrops of granite in the Dalgety district, particularly to the north and east of it. The site itself is situated opposite the old Buckley’s Crossing.
– Is Coolringdon all granite ?
– No; but there is a good deal of granite out in that direction. Of course there is some good country there, because they rear sheep there; but the Commissioners state on indisputable evidence that its carrying capacity is only one sheep to two acres.
– Is it not good country between Dalgety and Cooma?
– There are patches of good country there.
– Is it not good country all the way through?
– Certainly not. Country which will carry only one sheep to two acres cannot be described as good. But it is not only the carrying capacity of the country which makes me think it unsuitable for the location of the Federal Capital. The report from which I have quoted expresses the view of local residents that trees could be grown -
Particularly if the hardier trees, such aspinus insignis,&c.,were used for shelter from the high winds which prevail at certain seasons. Though protected to some extent from the westerly winds by the high ground along the western boundary, the Site is somewhat exposed.
– How long is it since the honorable member was there?
– The honorable member will find my name in large letters on the books of the Marrinumbla station for the year 1884.
– The honorable member says there is no timber there; but does he know that the late Minister for Home Affairs was lost in the timber within five or six miles of the site?
– Some Members of Parliament when they get out into the wilds are very easily lost. The Commissioners place Dalgety second to Tumut in the matter of water supply.
– But consider who appointed the Commissioners.
– That is not the question, unless the honorable member is prepared to challenge the impartiality and honesty of the Commissioners.
– I am prepared to do so.
– I assume that the Commissioners faithfully performed the duties intrusted to them.
– Does the honorable member seriously contend that the report with regard to the water supply at Dalgety is a fair one?
– I do; and my reasons are embodied chiefly in the report of the Commissioners. It is proposed to obtain the water supply, in the first instance, from the Mowamba River, which the Commissioners say is the nearest source of supply by gravitation for a population of 50,000. I know full well, that in order to obtain a gravitation supply from the Snowy River, we should have to go a considerable dis lance further back.
– Has the honorable member read what Mr. Pridham has to say about that matter?
– No; I -do not know Mr. Pridham in this connexion. If he had been an authority, he would probably have been consulted by the Commissioners.
– But his report is already before us.
– Mr. Pridham supplied the information embodied in the Commissioners’ report.
– I am reading from the report of the Commissioners, who were the properly-constituted authorities to deal with this matter. They say -
This river (the Mowamba River) is said by residents to run strongly throughout the year, and it has a catchment area of about 02 square miles above the point of off-take, which is situated at the lower end of the Moonbah Plain. The land included in the catchment area is used principally for pastoral purposes, but portions are suitable for cultivation, and the whole of it should be resumed to insure the purity of .the water. About 32,000 acres have been alienated, the remainder being Crown lands.
The alienated lands would have to be resumed, because we know from experience that where a pure water supply is required it is absolutely necessary to guard against pollution through settlement upon the catchment area. Then the Commissioners proceed to make an estimate, and state that in order to provide a supply sufficient for a given population, an outlay of £328,000 would have to be incurred. The reason why. the Commissioners place Dalgety second to Tumut in the matter of water supply is obvious, because at Tumut a gravitation scheme could be provided, and practically the whole of the catchment area would be Crown lands. That is the difference in favour of Tumut. We have heard a great deal about accessibility, and many exaggerated statements have been made with regard to the possibility of constructing a line from the existing railways to Dalgety. Now, what do the Commissioners say with regard to the cost of the lines necessary to make Dalgety accessible? The lowest estimate they give for a line from Cooma to Dalgety is £4,700 per mile. The cost of the line that would be necessary to connect the site with the Eastern railways of Victoria would render its construction quite out of the question. The Victorian Government have refused to extend their eastern lines, owing to the fact that there is no prospect, under existing conditions, of securing any return for the outlay. They would be prepared to incur a small present loss, if there were any possibility of development in settlement and production in the near future.
– Would they be able to run fast trains on such a line?
– That would depend upon the route selected. The cost of a line to connect Dalgety with the Eastern railway system of Victoria would amount to very nearly £3,000,000. I now desire to refer to another site which has been extolled as the only place suitable for the establishment of the Federal Capital. I refer to Lyndhurst. I need not deal with the question of accessibility, because we know that the site is already practically connected with Sydney by rail. I was astonished last night to hear several of the advocates of the site admit that within the last two years a drought had prevailed in that part of the country. If we are to build a Capital, it is not desirable that we should select a site in a drought-stricken country.
– It has been shown that even during the drought period the water supply at Lyndhurst would have been sufficient to meet the requirements of 200,000 people.
– I asked last night, by way of interjection, whether the Lyndhurst district had been affected by the drought, and I was told that most certainly it had been affected.
– Was not the Riverina district also affected by the drought?
– Certainly it was ; but no one proposes to build the Federal Capital in Riverina.
– One of the sites is not very far from it.
– I shall deal with that later on. It is admitted, even by the advocates of the Lyndhurst site, that an adequate water supply is one of the essentials. I admit that, so far as its elevation is concerned, Lyndhurst should be a healthy locality, and I also acknowledge that there is some very good land in the district. It is not like the Monaro country, where people might starve, so far as production is concerned, because it would be impossible to supply a very large population with food. At Lyndhurst, there is country within easy reach, which would be capable of producing all the food required by a large population. The water supply would not, however, in my estimation, be sufficient. Without entering too much into details, I would point out that all the authorities are agreed as to the sources from which the water supply will be derived. They are the Coombing Rivulet, Flyer’s Creek, Cadi.angullong Creek, Brown’s Creek, and the Lachlan River, near Mount Macdonald. Now, what have the Commissioners to say with regard to the Coombing Rivulet? -
The Coombing Rivulet, which is proposed as the primary source of supply, has a catchment above the point of off-take, about one mile and a half south-west of the village of Shaw, of about eighty square miles, consisting of hilly country, in which is included the eastern slopes of Mount Macquarie. At the time of inspection the rivulet was practically dry, so that flood waters only would have to be depended upon. In ordinary seasons, however, there is said to be running water in this creek throughout the year.
Therefore, it is proposed to obtain the chief supply from a rivulet which was dry at the time of the inspection of the Commissioners. The Commissioners were specially appointed to inquire into this particular question, and I regard their report as the most reliable source of information. The honorable member for Lang, last evening, quoted from a private letter. In some Parliaments an honorable member who quotes from a letter may be required to place it upon the table, and unless the honorable member is prepared to place any documents from which he quotes at the disposal of honorable members, he cannot expect us to attach much importance to the sources of his information.
– I think that the honorable member is quite prepared to lay the letter on the table.
– The honorable member stated that it was a private document, and therefore I did not suggest that it should be laid on the table. I am only pointing to the difference between the two authorities. The Commissioners, whose report must be regarded as an honest one, unless honorable members are prepared to challenge it, state that one source of supply, the Coombing rivulet, was dry at the time of their inspection. They say further -
The land included in the catchment area is used partly for cultivation and partly for pastoral purposes. About 46,540 acres have been alienated, the remainder being Crown land. To insure the purity of the water the whole of it should be resumed.
Therefore, the position at Lyndhurst is practically the same as at Dalgety, and a large expenditure would be required for resumptions in connexion with the catchment area. In a case where storm waters only can be relied upon, and the catchment area comprises a large amount of cultivated land, we can imagine what an enormous quantity of silt would be carried into the reservoir. One of the other sources of supply is Flyer’s Creek, which is thus referred to -
Flyers Creek, which takes ils rise near the Canobolas Mountain, has a catchment area above the site of the dam, at the outlet end of Long Swamp, of eighteen square miles, consisting principally of hilly country favorable for the collection of water. The land is used for both agricultural and pastoral purposes, and would have to be acquired to insure the purity of the water, which would involve the purchase of about 10,750 acres, the remainder being Crown lands.
Therefore, in that case also, we should have to rely upon storm waters. Then the Commissioners say -
Cadiangullong Creek, -which was dry at the time of inspection, has a catchment area above the proposed site for the dam, below the junction with Soldier’s Creek, of fourteen and a half square miles, including the southern spurs of the Canobolas Mountain, the whole being favorable for collecting water. The land is principally rough and hilly, and used chiefly for pastoral purposes, but to insure the purity of the water, the area would need to be resumed.
It will thus be seen that two out of three creeks were dry at the time of the Commissioners’ inspection.
– What is the catchment area of the Melbourne water supply ?
– I do not intend to discuss that matter at the present juncture. Everything depends upon the rainfall and the volume of water running off the catchment area. The Commissioners also say -
Brown’s Creek, which is also proposed as a supplementary source of supply, has, above the site for the dam, about one mile below Sugarloaf Creek, a hilly catchment area of about 47 square miles, favorable for the collection of water. The creek contained very little running water at the time of inspection.
These are the four creeks from which it is proposed to draw a supply of water for the Lyndhurst site. I notice also that a report has been secured upon the feasibility of obtaining a supply by pumping from the Lachlan, but the cost of that scheme renders it impracticable. I do not intend to say anything regarding the Lyndhurst site, further than that the cost of obtaining an adequate water supply practically condemns it.
– The honorable member should read Mr. Wade’s report.
– I have read it. I have already stated that upon the previous occasion when this question was discussed, I voted with the Welaregang site clearly in my mind. It is unfortunate that we are not in possession of a full report upon that site. The information which is available, however, places it at the head of the list so far as the possession of all essentials for a Federal Capital are concerned. Of course, if the Committee desire to obtain a site in close proximity to Sydney, it may be possible to get an equally good one. Nevertheless, I venture to say that we cannot obtain a better location for a Federal Capital than exists at Welaregang. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa has declared that from the stand-point of climate it is practically upon an equality with, and is similar to, the Tumut site. Upon that point Mr. Chesterman, who has made a hurried report upon this particular site, and who has been resident in that district for some five years, says -
The Welaregang-Tooma Valley is protected by lower ranges from the cold westerlies, the prevailing winter winds, which blow toward the Snowy Mountains. These mountains, in a direct line, are about thirty miles south-easterly, and their proximity tempers the summer climate, the easterly breezes blowing from them. Though the average altitude of the suggested Site may not exceed about 1,100 feet, the above local conditions contribute to render the climate free from marked extremes, .and it will be noticed that the situation is immediately south of the 36th parallel of latitude. With its varying elevations this district offers various climatic conditions. Take, for instance, Tumbarumba, about seventeen miles north, where the climate is distinctly more Alpine in character, the winters being severe. Again, about seventeen miles easterly, is the old Toolong Hut, situated in classified snow country - that is, country “ usually covered with snow for a part of each year, and considered to be unfit for continuous use or occupation.”
When honorable members declare that the elevation of a particular district governs its climatic conditions, I would direct their attention to the fact that this particular site is within seventeen miles of the snow line in one direction, and twenty-five miles in the other. As a matter of fact, it is within seventy miles of perpetual snow. These conditions, I claim, must materially influence its general climatic conditions. “ With regard to accessibility, we have been told that it is absolutely impossible to construct a railway into that district. Yet we are aware that Tumut is already connected by a fair railway service with Sydney, and that the line could be made a fast one, if necessary. Twenty years ago, to my own knowledge, teamsters used to haul an average of 15 cwt. per horse over what war practically a bush road between Tumut and Tumberumba. That is sufficient proof that it is not impossible to extend the GundagaiTumut line from Gadara to Welaregang. In this report, estimates are given of the cost of constructing a line upon the Victorian side of that site. But I would point out that those estimates were prepared in the boom times of the early nineties. We know that since then railways which were surveyed at the same time have been built for half the estimate which was then furnished. Consequently, we may reasonably expect a reduction of 40 per cent, in the cost of constructing a railway upon the Victorian side of that site. It is fair to assume, therefore, that it could be constructed for about £5,000 per mile. That sum compares favorably with the latest estimate we have of the cost of constructing a railway from Cooma to Dalgety. It is estimated that the construction of that line would involve an expenditure of £4,700 per mile, and I venture to affirm that the cost of building a railway from Welaregang to Gadara would not exceed ,£5,000 per mile.
– How many miles is it from Welaregang to Gadara?
– It is between fifty and sixty miles.
– It is just fifty miles as the crow flies.
– At a very moderate cost indeed this site could be made accessible to travellers by constructing a loop line from the main line between Melbourne and Svdney. I unhesitatingly claim that from the stand-point of soil and productiveness the ‘ Tooma site possesses advantages superior to those of any other site. An immense area, extending from fifteen miles on the south side of Tumut to the Tooma Valley, is available for a Federal territory.
– It would . cost £15,000 per mile to construct a railway there.
– That is a figment of the imagination. I have already told the Committee that, of my own knowledge, twenty years ago teams used to haul upon an average 15 hundredweight per horse along the Welaregang to Tumut road.
– It always struck me as being particularly rough country.
– No doubt there is rough country between Tumberumba and what is known as Lobb’s Hole.
– Are there any horses of that breed still alive?
– Yes; I can supply the honorable member with plenty of them.
– But Tumberumba is not Welaregang.
– But the highest point in the journey between Tumut and Welaregang is reached at Tumberumba. From Tumberumba to Welaregang there is a downward grade, because the traveller is then on the watershed of the Tooma River. I repeat that twenty years ago teams used to haul over a road which was not macadamized - practically a bush road - an average of 15 hundredweight per horse. I am not in a position to say whether the whole of that road is now macadamized.
– A good deal of it is.
– If a horse can draw 15 hundredweight over any country, I claim that it would not be a difficult matter to construct a railway there. Further, those who have travelled from Welaregang to Tumberumba know that between those places there is an almost perfect road for coaching. It does not require a specially good buggy horse to cover the seventeen miles in an hour and a half.
– The honorable member must keep verv good horses.
– I did the journey in that time, but did not use my own horse.
– I suppose it was grown in the district.
– That is so. It is well known that the “Upper Murray has produced some of the best horses in Australia.
– I do not think that anyone disputes the productivity of the district.
– The possibilities of development would be in themselves a suffi cient justification for constructing a railway to the Upper Murray district, even if the Federal Capital were not established there. It is generally conceded, however, that New South Wales, unfortunately, is not yet possessed of a sufficiently extensive railway system to enable rural districts to achieve the fullest possible development.
– The Germanton extension does not pav now.
– No ; but it is well known that it is only a short loop line, passing through country consisting practically of large holdings. I know the district well. Twenty years ago there were large holdings there, and the tendency, jf anything, has since been in the direction of increasing the area of those holdings. There is an enormous area of Crown land available in the Upper Murray district. One of the largest forest areas of New South Wales runs parallel with the roadway.
– Is that not the area of the watershed ?
– It is within the Tumut watershed area. Then, again, the Upper Murray district is within easy reach of the famous Yarrangobilly Caves.
– Are they not something like sixty-five miles distant?
– Welaregang is seventeen miles from Tumberumba, and the distance between Tumberumba and Lobb’s Hole by bridle track in the olden days was also about seventeen miles, but I am told that a direct road from- Tumut to the junction of the Yarrangobilly has since been made, and that it is a very good one. Let me briefly refer to the question of water supply. I invite those who are so enthusiastically in favour of Dalgety because of its magnificent water supply, and who have not yet visited the Upper Murray district, to read Mr. Chesterman’ s report on the Tooma district. Those who have suggested that the stream’s contributing to the proposed source of supply have been polluted by mining and sluicing operations- should read what Mr. Chesterman has to say on the subject.
– Does not Mr. Chesterman sav that they are polluted?
- Mr. Chesterman says that some of the streams flowing into the Tooma River below the point of the proposed offtake are polluted.
– And the point of the proposed offtake is twenty-two miles away ?
– It is something like that. Mr. Chesterman points out that the volume of water available for the supply of a Federal Capital is unquestionably large. There are three rivers to be drawn upon - the Tooma River, the Swampy Plain River, and the Indi River, which are all snow fed. The Tooma River joins the Murray at a point close to the proposed site, and the Swampy Plain and Indi rivers a little above that point.
– Doctors say that snow-water is not good for drinking purposes.
– It is bad when you cannot obtain it. Mr. Chesterman points out in his report that -
The district under reference is undoubtedly a well-watered one. The two main heads of the Murray River (known as the Swampy Plain and Indi Rivers) junction about ten miles above the proposed site, and between the site and this junction the main river is joined by another large stream, known as the Tooma River. In evidence given before the Inter-State Royal Commission on the River Murray, Mr. “ Assistant Engineer “ H. S. Smail, B.E., stated that he gauged these streams at a time when the river was in a very low state.
His gaugings show that the discharge from the Tooma River is equal to 17,800 cubic feet per minute; and if honorable members take the equivalent of that in gallons they will find that the supply will be ample for a very large population.
– It is more than 110,000 gallons per minute. .
– The report continues -
Gaugings of smaller streams are also given, and the Murray River itself at Tintaldra showed a discharge of 947 cubic feet per second.
That was at a time when the river was in a very low state. Mr. Chesterman continues -
Looking at the watershed of the Murray River, so far as shown on plan “ Y,” with the objeect of ascertaining what gravitation schemes for water supply are available, it would appear that the upper parts of the Mannus and Tumberumba Creeks could be utilized, and also Paddy’s Uiver above the Falls - all draining into the Tooma River.
I come now to a paragraph to which I desire to direct the special attention of the Committee -
Settlement and mining interests on the heads of these streams might, however, prove objectionable, and, moreover, I think a much more effective supply can be drawn from the main branch of the Tooma itself.
In other words, the two streams, whose waters are likely to be polluted by mining and sluicing operations, are to be completely ignored, . and a supply obtained, first of all, from the Tooma River, which wends its way through snow country, where sluic-ing or mining operations are not carried on. The catchment area consists of Crown lands, leased from year to year for grazing purposes. These lands are known as “summer country,” and are resorted to when the plain country, which has been carrying a considerable number of stock, has become exhausted.
– It is held under what are known in New South Wales as snow leases.
– Exactly. Mining and sluicing operations have been carried on along the Mannus Creek and the Turn.berumba Creek for many years, with the result that the water has become discoloured, and would be objectionable ‘ for domestic purposes; but the water supply of the Federal Capital, if it were established at Welaregang, would be drawn, not from those streams, but from the main Tooma River, at a point above the junction of those streams. The report continues -
From approximate aneroid readings I have been enabled to obtain, it would appear that the junction of Pound Creek with the Tooma River (vide map “ Y”) is at an elevation of about 1,700 feet, which, allowing a fall of 200 feet in about fifteen miles, would be at ,a sufficient altitude to permit of water being gravitated to a service reservoir at an elevation of 1,500 feet commanding the site. Proceeding about a mile further up the river a height of about 1,800 feet is reached, and, in order to allow a margin, it is from this point (marked “X” on map “Y”), distant about sixteen miles by pipe line from the city site, that I consider the Tooma River can be tapped for a gravitation scheme.
If the honrable member for Eden-Monaro will give me his attention for a moment, I shall endeavour- to draw a clear distinction between the water supply available at Tooma and that of Dalgety. Mr. Chesterman shows that -
The catchment area above this point comprises approximately ninety-three square miles of snow country, and so strong is the stream here at all times that to supply a population of 50,000 inhabitants I do not think a storage reservoir would be necessary. Such being so, the principal expenses would be limited to construction of small impounding weir at offtake, service reservoir near site, and the laying down of about sixteen or seventeen miles of pipe line. A short dist.ii-.ee above the proposed offtake the Tooma River emerges from a deep gorge through which it has flowed for some miles with a rapid fall. Consequently it is not surprising to learn that at the old Toolong crossing, about eight miles above offtake, the altitude is given by departmental maps as 2,880 feet.
In this report we have evidence that we should be able to obtain an absolutely pure supply from the Tooma River itself. There is such a large volume of water available that if a small weir were constructed we should not require a large reservoir for conservation purposes, but would be -able to convey the water a distance of about sixteen or seventeen miles by pipe line to the service reservoir.
– Does the honorable member assert that we could not do the same at Dalgety?
– I do.
– The honorable member asks the . Committee to accept his assertion that the Tooma water supply is not polluted. What about the report of the Inter-State . Commission on the Murray River ?
– I have already shown that to my own knowedge the Mannus Creek and the Tumberumba Creek, which flow into the Tooma River, were polluted by mining operations twenty years ago. The report by Mr. Chesterman confirms that statement, but points out that the proposed offtake on the Tooma River is above the junction of those two creeks.
– His report was compiled from notes taken fifteen or twenty years ago, was it not?
– I cannot say, but-
– He says himself that he merely writes from memory.
– But he lived in the district for five years.
– I suppose the honorable member is aware that Mr. Chesterman gave us a glowing account of the water supply for the Gadara and Lacmalac sites?
– He might well give a glowing account of their water supply. The water supply to the east or north-east of Tumut is somewhat similar to that available at Welaregang, although the volume is not the same.
– I do not understand that-
– Order ! The honorable member is anticipating his own speech on the question.
– It will be found from a perusal of Mr. Chesterman’s report that the source of our water supply, if Tooma were selected, would not be polluted in any way. I do not propose to further discuss the question, except to say that 1 regard Lyndhurst as being first on’ the list from the stand-point of accessibility. I admit that, so far as accessibility is concerned, Lyndhurst possesses an advantage, but in regard to water supply, I do not think it could be argued for one moment, on the evidence available, that that is a desirable place for the Federal city. I can speak from some considerable experience of Dalgety, having been engaged on the Marinumbula Station, which is on the proposed site. I lived there for a considerable portion of two years, and gained some familiarity with the conditions ; and my impressions are borne out’ by the report presented to us. As stated in the report, the country for twenty or thirty miles around Dalgety would carry a sheep to two acres. According to the evidence, of some other witnesses, it would be possible, within a radius of fifty miles of Dalgety to grow the food necessary for a population of fifty thousand. That, however, is not saying much for the productiveness of this wonderful tableland on the Monaro. Other witnesses state that within that radius sufficient produce could not be grown for a population of the size I have mentioned ; and it is very difficult to grow produce on granite.
– Whence does the honorable member expect to draw supplies? From the southern side of the Murray ?
– Unless the New South Wales people remain asleep, certainly not. Surely it can be imagined that in a stretch of country, eighteen miles by twenty, it would be possible to grow a considerable amount of produce. Are we to take it that the digestion of the people at Welaregang, when that is made Federal territory, will be impaired by produce grown in Victoria? As to the climatic conditions at Dalgety, I might relate more of my personal experience. In pursuit of my business, I had occasion to take horses from the Riverina country over the hills to Monaro in the early part of November, which ought to be a good time of the year in a mild climate. It turned out, however, that after the animals had been turned out on those beautiful, undulating granite hills around Dalgety, for a week, I did not know them; and I venture to say that if they had been left to find their own food there, nobody would have been able to recognise them as horses. I had to take them from those pastures, and hand feed them in order to save their lives. In those cool westerly winds, tempered by the Snowy Mountains, the honorable member for EdenMonaro would require to wear “ knockers “ on his. teeth to keep them from chattering.
No doubt, people reared in such a climate might be able to stand the rigorous conditions.
– We should have the “ survival of the fittest,” I suppose. .
– No doubt the people there are hardy. But what is the use of inducing Members of Parliament to suffer in such a climate for a few months in the year ? The . Seat of Government ought to be in a place where normal conditions prevail - not where we shall be parboiled or frozen, but where there are no extremes of heat or cold. Such a climate we should find in those uplands so graphically described by the honorable member for Perth, where, when the thermometer does rise to 85 or 90, it is only a short trip of ten or fifteen miles to -the snow line.
– Would the honorable member reach the snow line by lift?
– By’ lift or motor-car, whichever the honorable member for Wentworth might desire. We are now called upon to decide a question not for to-day or tomorrow, but one in regard to which we must look fifty or a hundred years ahead.
– Does the honorable member mean in regard to the buildings?
– I am speaking of the fixing of the location. It is apparently considered by some honorable members that the selection should be made now ; and that may be desirable, if only to allay jealousy and distrust. I have no objection to settling the matter now, but I think honorable members realize that, make what haste we may, a considerable time must elapse before any legislative enactment will be given effect to in the erection of a Federal Capital. A considerable period must be taken up in negotiations of one sort and another; but I would not be one to delay, even for a day, the selection of a site. It is not our own convenience, or the immediate requirements of to-day, that we have to consider. We have to consider the future of Australia, and to do that, a few essentials must be taken into account. I do not think for a moment that the Capital city will ever rival or out-pace the present commercial centres. It may become a centre of population ; we do not know what developments there may be in the future. We must, however, consider, first of all, water supply and climatic conditions, and if these are satisfactory, ascertain whether there is a possibility of increased settlement and production. For the reasons I have given I have no hesitation in saying that I shall give my vote for the Tooma site.
– The honorable member for Moira and the honorable member who preceded him devoted themselves earnestly - and, I think it will ‘be admitted, forcefully - to the task of showing the Committee the reasons which led them to advocate the particular site which both of them with singular unanimity urged honorable members to support. But it seems to me that they overlooked the most important fact, which I think really ought to commend itself - to us more than any other fact at the present juncture. That is that we are now fulfilling an obligation which the Commonwealth incurred towards New South Wales when that State joined in the Federal compact some years ago. What is the history of this affair? Why is it that at the present time we are confined to New South Wales territory in the selection of a Federal Capital site? The Federal compact was felt by the people of New South Wales to expose them to a very serious risk, to which the other States were not exposed. The fiscal question was considered to be of immense importance. That point may not commend itself to other honorable members, but the fact certainly remains that the people of New South Wales attached paramount importance to the fiscal question, and the risk of sacrificing their fiscal autonomy was so serious as to make them pause before entering that union of the six colonies which every one in Australia desired to see consummated.
– As a matter of fact, they did not pause; .there was a majority in favour of the Commonwealth Bill at the first referendum.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports and some others have thrown a great deal of vituperative eloquence at the State from which I have the honour to come, because she saw fit to take what was, in my opinion, a very prudent step with regard to the first referendum. Her Parliament practically enacted that a majority of 10,000 votes must be recorded in favour of the Commonwealth Bill before it could reasonably be said to receive the support of the people of New South Wales. Mr. Tudor. - I think the stipulation was that there should be 80,000 votes recorded for the Bill.
– The honorable member is quite right ; but, with the votes polled, a majority of 10,000 would be a fair equivalent.
As a matter of fact, I do not think that that was a serious condition to impose, and honorable members will agree with me when they consider it. It was not unreasonable that a State with a population of 1,300,000 should have to have 80,000 votes recorded in favour of a change in her whole Constitution.
– How many electors were there in New South Wales?
– I suppose there were considerably over 250,000.
– There were over 300,000 electors; we had 250,000 in Victoria,
– Speaking from memory,” there were, I think, between 250,000 and 300,000 voters; and surely the Minister of Home Affairs does not think 80,000 votes out of 300,000 too large a percentage.
– I am not thinking about the matter at all.
– Then I am sorry that the honorable gentleman in charge Of the Bill is doing no thinking about it.
– The Minister means only with regard to that particular part.
– Then, I withdraw.
– The minimum provision was looked upon as a breach of faith.
– It was a dodge.
– It was a very prudent step.
– We are not now discussing the question of the minimum required in New South Wales before the Commonwealth Bill could be adopted. The question before the Committee is the selection of a suitable site.
– I am showing that New South Wales did not at first accept the Commonwealth Bill, because she felt that its acceptance would expose her to the risk of disadvantage.
– The honorable member was giving his reasons for approving of the action of those who were responsible for the imposition of the minimum.
– I regret that by replying to interjections I have been led to trespass, but now that the Chairman has directed my attention to it, I will desist. There is no doubt, at any rate, that on the occasion of the first referendum in New South Wales, it was strongly felt bv those who were in a position to know - by the leaders of opinion - that the Federal Capital question was, in the opinion of the people, of the utmost importance. It was felt that the Premier of New South Wales should be intrusted with the mandate of consulting with the Premiers of the other States, in order to see whether they could arrive at some sort of compromise. The Premiers met in Melbourne. As every one knows, the Premier and the people of New South Wales would naturally have preferred to have’ the Capital fixed in Sydney, which was the centre of the State.
– But not the centre of the Commonwealth.
– It was, however, felt by the Conference of Premiers, that New South Wales was not entitled to that unique privilege. Ultimately it was. agreed that New South Wales was to have the Capital within her borders, but that it should be shorn of much of its advantage, from the State point of view. The Conference passed the following resolution: -
It is considered that the fixing of the site of the Capital is a question which might well be left to the Parliament to decide.
– Hear, hear.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports need not applaud until he has heard the whole resolution.
– I was applauding the sentiment underlying the resolution.
But in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause, so that while the Capital cannot be fixed at Sydney, or in its neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales, at a reasonable distance from that city.
The people of New South Wales knew what that resolution was when they accepted the Commonwealth Bill. They read it in its broader meaning.
– They read it in every way they could.
– And it is now attempted by some honorable members to read it in any way they can. But I think that the people of the other States will be in favour of fulfilling to the utmost limit the bond entered into between New South Wales and the other States of the Commonwealth. Such being the case, I feel convinced that even the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will try to meet us half way.
– I will go all the way. I would not repudiate a letter of the bond.
– I also trust that the honorable member will seek to do what I am sure his constituents would be anxious that he should do - to honour the spirit, as well as the letter, of the bond.
– I am sure that my constituents, in this matter, would do what I should like them to do.
– I hope that the honorable member and others will endeavour to carry out this obligation to its fullest extent, and not seek to take a technical advantage of a deed, which, being made between States which were relations, was drawn not too definitely. Such being the resolution which was carried by the Premiers’ Conference, it was only natural that the people of New South Wales reckoned that the Capital would be established somewhere, as the resolution says, within “ a reasonable distance ‘*’ of their capital city. In view of. the fact that New South Wales took that view, and that on the strength of it she entered into the Federal partnership, I hold that the question of the locality of the Federal city is one in which New South Wales is peculiarly interested - in which she is interested more than the rest of the Commonwealth. But there is another question, namely, that of the expense incurred in building the Capital, and in making it accessible. I hold that the matter of expense is a Federal question, in which all the States are equally interested. The people of New South Wales having entered into this partnership, their worst fears with regard to the fiscal question were realized. As the result of it her taxation has been increased by £1,500,000 per annum.
– Order ! I do not think that the question of the Tariff has anything to do with this matter.
– The people of New South Wales could have reduced their taxation in other ways.
– I want to show that since New South Wales has incurred this increased taxation, she is now more than ever entitled to that consideration which she expected when she joined the Union. It is very significant that whereas the taxation of New South Wales has been increased, taxation throughout the rest of Australia - with the exception of Western Australia - has not been increased. I do not think that any State is better pleased than is New South Wales that the other States have not also suffered increases, but still the fact remains that taxation in New South Wales has been considerably augmented. It is now said that the State Parliament could have reduced the amount of taxation. But the only direct taxation which they could have diminished was to the amount of half-a-mil- lion. As a consequence of this heavy increased Customs and Excise taxation, the people of New South Wales now feel that they are bearing the whole cost of Federation. There is not the slightest doubt about that.
– It is an utter absurdity.
– The New South Wales Customs revenue in 1901 amounted, to less than £2,000,000. In 1903 it amounted to nearly £3,500.000. In other words, there was an increase of slightly more than £j:, 500,000. In Victoria the result of Federation has meant a decrease in taxation from this channel of £71,000; and in Queensland a decrease of £238,000.
– Has this anything to do with the matter under discussion?
– Tt shows the reasons for the spirit in which this question is regarded by the New South Wales people.
– I am sorry to have to rule that it has nothing to do with the question before the Chair.
– Can I raise a point of order upon that issue? I am showing reasons for the bitter feeling prevailing amongst the New South Wales people - a feeling which in itself should necessitate our honouring the bond to the fullest extent.
– What have we to do with their feelings in regard to this question ?
– I think that the feelings of the New South Wales people form the most important Federal question at the present time. I- was giving what I considered to be a pertinent illustration, but if the Chairman rules that it is out of order I will bow to his decision. Our duty obviously is to render to New South Wales a fulfilment of ‘the obligation which induced her to enter the Federation. To render that obligation we ought not to choose a site that will be of no benefit to her, but a site which will satisfy the people of New South Wales that the Commonwealth Parliament is endeavouring to honour the obligations entered into in their liberal and true sense. I propose to consider the different sites from a double aspect t- that of location, which is the serious aspect from the New South Wales point of view ; and that of expense, which is the Federal aspect. Considered in the light of those two aspects, it seems to me that the Welaregang site is altogether out of the running. The benefits that would accrue to New South Wales from the location of the Capital at Welaregang are absolutely nil.
– Is that the honorable member’s stand-point?
– No, not altogether. As I have explained, I am considering the matter from two stand-points. I know that honorable members from Western Australia are very airy in their views about expense ; but I can assure the honorable member that it is necessary to consider the various sites from the point of view of expenditure. I am dividing the aspects of the matter into two - the view which the people of New South Wales might reasonably take, and that which the people of the Commonwealth as a whole might reasonably take. The first is the question of locality, which is peculiarly of State interest; and the second has relation to expense, in which the whole Commonwealth is directly interested. I hold that on the first of these two points the Welaregang site is altogether out of the running. It is inaccessible from the point of view of New South Wales. It is on the border of that State. It is a place which would draw all its supplies from a neighbouring State. In this I an: merely putting the New South Wales point of view. I do not expect some of the members from other States to attach more importance to the point than they are predisposed to do, having regard to the interests they represent. The State of New South Wales would derive no advantage whatever from the establishment of the Federal Capital at Welaregang. As a matter of fact, its establishment there would place that State in a worse position than that in which she is at present, because it must not be forgotten that New South Wales must supply all the Crown lands free, and forego all taxation on the alienated lands. The establishment of the Capital at Welaregang would therefore render the fulfilment of an obligation, from which New South Wales expected to derive an advantage, only a new means of irritating the people of that State ; it would mean a ‘fresh sacrifice, and a new source of unfederal feeling. At present New South Wales is in a state of unrest, because the settlement of this question has been delayed for some years. It is now our duty, not only to at once secure its settlement, but to allay the irritation that exists. In Welaregang we have a site which is distinctly unsatisfactory to the mother State, and one about which we practically know nothing. It has not been surveyed, and we are being asked to take a leap in the dark which may afterwards expose this Parliament to the ridicule of the civilized world. We . have before us an extremely scratchy report on the Tooma district. That is not the fault of its author, because he was asked, without making a survey or examination of the district, to sit down in his office and furnish Parliament with a report on which we are supposed to decide for all time the Federal Capital of Australia. In this connexion I may say that I am very much surprised at the attitude assumed by the- honorable member fo: Perth. That honorable member told the Committee that he intended to vote for the Welaregang site, because that would mean deferring the question for a further period. He explained .that if we decided upon Tooma the Senate would not agree to our choice, and that would probably mean the relegation of the question to a session of Parliament - might I say - five or six years hence, until within the fifty-mile radius suggested by the honorable member for Hume a site might be discovered possessing all the advantages which are now claimed for- the Welaregang site.
– To what site is the honorable member referring? To the Lyndhurst site ?
– The Minister of Home Affairs would appear to be confusing the places. For his information I may say that Welaregang is a place on the Upper Murray near’ the border between New South Wales and Victoria.
– Which is the site, the choice of which is likely to delay the decision of the question?
– - -I was referring to the attitude assumed by the honorable member for Perth, who told the Committee that he intended’ to vote for Tooma, because he knew that another place would not accept that site, and consequently the settlement of the question would be delayed pending an examination of the scenic beauties and other advantages of the district.
– The honorable member must . have meant Lyndhurst, not Welaregang.
– I presumed that the honorable member meant Welaregang, because he said Welaregang, but if the Minister of Home Affairs assures me that his followers do not mean what they say, I must bow to his superior knowledge of them. In connexion with the Tooma site, we are told, amongst other things, that the district is undoubtedly well watered. We were told this afternoon by the honorable member for Moira that the Dalgety site is not well watered. I might remind honorable members that when the Commissioners inspected the Bombala site they thought there would be no difficulty whatever in securing a gravitation water supply, because they saw some thirteen streams descending from the hills in its vicinity.
– Did they say thirteen? That is a very unlucky number.
– It is; but this was at Bombala.
– The honorable member for Macquarie wishes he had one of the streams at Lyndhurst.
– Although they assumed that there would be no difficulty in providing the Bombala site with a gravitation supply, when they came to make a closer examination of the country they found that they could not supply water to a city of any size at the Bombala site without pumping. With respect to the Tooma site, we have the same report that it is a wellwatered district, but when it is examined closely honorable members may find that in order to supply the Tooma site with water it may be necessary to pump it from the Murray. The officer who furnishes us with a report about Tooma says -
Looking at the watershed of the Murray River, with the object of ascertaining what gravitation schemes for water supply are available, it would appear that the upper parts of the Mannus and Tumberumba Creek could be utilized, and also Paddy’s River, above the Falls - all draining into the Tooma River. Settlement and mining interests on the heads of these streams might, however, prove objectionable, and, moreover, I think a much more effective supply can be drawn from the main branch of the Tooma River itself.
I wish to be perfectly fair to this site, and I therefore admit that the honorable’ member for Moira told us this afternoon that a gravitation scheme might be secured from the Tooma River, above its junction with these two streams, which, according to this report, are impregnated with dangerous ingredients. The honorable member, however, forgot to tell us that the point to which he refers is twenty-two miles from the proposed site of the Capital city; that there is no estimtite of the cost of such a scheme before the Committee; and that fifteen or twenty miles of piping might mean an expense which the Federal Parliament would not be prepared to sanction, if the whole of the facts and figures were before it. This officer also says -
It would be very difficult at this stage to attempt a definite determination of the actual population it would be likely to supply.
Surely a statement of that sort from a responsible officer should make honorable members pause before deciding in favour of the Tooma site 1 He goes on to state the expense of constructing the railway lines that would be necessary to connect the Tooma site with the railway systems already in existence. He mentions three surveyed lines from the Victorian side, and his estimate of their cost, without building the bridge across the Murray necessary to complete the connexion, and without rolling-stock, would be respectively £620,000, £703,000, and £861,000.
– And it would . cost manv thousands more to bridge the Murray.
– On the other side, with respect to the railway necessary to connect with the Tumut line, this gentleman, in his report, says -
Between Tumut and the Victorian border I believe a practicable, though hilly, route is obtainable, but between Tumut and Yass I understand a flying inspection disclosed some difficulties.
This is the very favorable report of which we have been told concerning the line between Welaregang and Tumut !
– Yass does not come between Welaregang and Tumut.
– The surveyor, after making this report, takes this particular view of what he speaks of as a “ practicable route.”
– That is for a shorter route between Sydney and Tumut than the railway now existing.
– No; the surveyor’s proposal is one to connect Welaregang with Tumut.
– No; to get a more direct route from Sydney.
– We should not want a more direct route than that.
– The honorable’ member will find that Yass is between Tumut and Sydney, and not between Tumut and Welaregang.
– I am now speaking of the more economical route, to which the surveyor refers as the only practicable route.
– Not the most economical, but the more direct route.
– He says that he believes that the route between Tumut and the Victorian border is practicable, though hilly. He does not say that it is practicable, because he knows nothing definite about it. We have had Royal Commissioners inspecting the other sites, and special surveyors making contour surveys of them, but we are asked to accept this site in the dark, unless we adopt the suggestion of the honorable member for Perth, and vote for it in order to shelve the whole question for a further period. I do not think that honorable members will take that view, because I believe they are prepared to settle the question now, knowing that sufficient time has already been wasted in deciding this matter. I think I have now shown that not only from the New South Wa.les point of view of locality, but also from the Federal point of view of expense and accessibility, this Tooma site is absolutely out of the running. I have now a word or two to say about the Dalgety site. It holds a distinctly stronger position than does the Welaregang site. Whilst the Tooma site would require a large expenditure to connect it with either Sydney or Melbourne, the Dalgety site is more or less accessible from Sydney, and railway communication between it and Sydney would be completed by a short extension to Dalgety of the line from Goulburn to Cooma. Consequently, from the point of view-
– Of Sydney.
– I am sorry that the Minister should be so prejudiced against Sydney. I hope that the honorable gentleman will bear with me, as I am considering the question from both points of view.
– What is the Minister’s view? He does not appear to have any on this matter.
– Yes, I think the Minister has made up his mind.
– Why does not the Minister of Home Affairs tell us what it is?
– The honorable gentleman is in charge of the Bill, and must assume an impartial attitude. I have been accused of taking an entirely provincial view when I say that Dalgety is more accessible to Sydney than is Welaregang. I look upon Sydney as the heart of the State of New South Wales, and I have tried to make it clear that I am regarding the question from the point of view of the State of New South Wales, as well as from the point of view of the Commonwealth, since they are both parties to the compact. I say that the question of locality is of supreme importance to the State of NewSouth Wales, whilst the question of expense is of Federal importance. I have, I think, proved that Welaregang is barred on both these considerations. I am now endeavouring to show that from the point of view of locality alone, Dalgety is superior to Welaregang. From the point of view of expense it is also preferable to that site, and it has this further advantage that it has been surveyed, reported on, and subjected to criticism, to which we have had no time, so far, to subject the Tooma site. However, when compared with Lyndhurst, I hold that the Dalgety site must give place.
– Nonsense !
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro nib doubt thinks that I should have stopped at the previous sentence, but the people of New South Wales desire that the Lyndhurst site should be chosen out of the three I have mentioned. If we take the State point of view only into consideration. Lyndhurst should receive our unanimous support. There is still the Federal point of view to be considered - the question of expense and accessibility. On that consideration, I maintain that Lyndhurst again has first place, because, for one thing, it is situated on a main line of railway already completed. At the present time Lyndhurst is equally accessible by rail from Melbourne and Sydney, and when the New South Wales railways are continued from Cobar, through Wilcannia, to Broken Hill, and from Wellington to Werris Creek, without expense to the Commonwealth - because we have it on the authority of the honorable member for Hume that they ‘ will be constructed by the Government of the State solely for the development of its own territory - the site will be in direct communication with Adelaide and Brisbane as Veil. Lyndhurst will then be really the heart of the railway systems of Australia, and the most accessible of all the sites.
– It is marvellous to me that any Western Australian should be in favour of any other site.
– The honorable member for Moira this afternoon made a great point of the alleged want of water in the Lyndhurst district; but he surely cannot have read the official report furnished by’ Mr. Wade, the Chief Engineer for Water Conservation in New South Wales, and the officer whose capacity was so admitted that he was intrusted by the Government of that State with the work of reporting on irrigation in the United States. Mr. Wade, in a report based upon that of the Capital Sites Commission, and his own personal and intimate knowledge of the district, says -
The Federal Royal Commission appointed to report on the proposed sites for the Seat of Government considered that the Coombing Rivulet of eighty square miles catchment area, together with the Flyn’s Creek, of eighteen square miles catchment area, were capable of supplying by gravitation a population of 54,000 people, at an average consumption at the rate of 100 gallons per head per diem.
They also mentioned that the Cadiangullong Creek, with a catchment area of fourteen and a half square miles, and Brown’s Creek, with a catchment area of forty-seven square miles, were capable’ of supplying by gravitation an additional population of 35,000 people on a similar basis of consumption, or, in all, a total by gravitation of 89,000 people.
I am personally acquainted with all of these catchments, and am in accord with the Commissioners in their views as to basis of run off, and consider that, by amplifying the storage, a population in round numbers of 100,000 people could be supplied with 100 gallons per head per diem.
The consumption of Melbourne is about 58½ gallons per diem per head of the population, while that of Sydney is about 43 gallons, and of London, speaking from memory, less than 40 gallons, so that the estimated available supply at Lyndhurst is calculated at, per head, about twice that provided for Melbourne, more than twice that provided for Sydney, and still greater proportionately than that of London. In addition to what can be obtained from a gravitation scheme, provision can be made for a pumping scheme.
– At what cost?
– Since the gravitation scheme would give such a liberal supply for a population of 100,000 people, it is hardly necessary to take the pumping scheme into consideration, beyond mentioning it as a possible augmentation of the other. The cost of supplying the city by gravitation would be about 7.5d. per 1,000 gallons.
– That is exclusive of reticulation.
– Yes. The cost of reticulation would bring the price of water up to10d. or1s. per 1,000 gallons, whereas in Melbourne it costs1s. 6d. per 1,000 gallons. Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that that rate provides a sinking fund which would pay off the whole cost of the work within twenty-eight years.
– And there would be a supply of 126,000,000 gallons a day for irrigation purposes.
– Yes. In view of these facts, which have been placed before honorable members on the authority of the Chief Engineer for Water Conservation in New South Wales, it was distinctly ungenerous of the honorable member for Moira to say that if the Lyndhurst site is chosen, the people living in the Capital may occasionally suffer from droughts.
– I quoted from the Commissioners’ report. They say that the creeks were dry at the time they visited the place.
– The city of Sydney, which has a population of over 500,000, depends for its water supply on a stormwater catchment area.
– The rainfall on that area is more than 15 inches per annum.
– The average rainfall at Lyndhurst is 29.54 inches per annum.
– Yes; and . that is probably a higher rainfall than is enjoyed on the Camden catchment, because it is just inside the coastal range, and between it is the dividing range.
– Mr. Pridham puts the aggregate cost of the Lyndhurst water supply at over £2,000,000.
– Even that is nothing like so much as it would cost to connect Dalgety with the Gippsland line at Bairnsdale.
– What is the total capital cost of Mr. Wade’s scheme?
– £581.000, which is less than it would cost to connect Tooma with the Victorian railway system, and about onefifth of what it would cost to connect Dalgety with Bairnsdale. From the Federal point of view, Lyndhurst is quite the best of the proposed sites. The people of New South Wales place great importance upon the immediate settlement of this question. The feeling in that State - I do not now go into the question of whether it is justifiable - is that she has been tricked into the Federation for a consideration which is now being withheld from her. I am sure that honorable members are eager to honour the constitutional obligation to New South Wales, and if they could realize that if some of the proposed sites were chosen the people of that State would not regard it as an honouring of that obligation, because no benefit to them would result, they would act differently. If. after a delay of so many years has occurred, such a site is chosen, the feeling of irritation and discontent now smouldering in the mother State may burst out into a flame of indignation which would be prejudicial to the State, to the Commonwealth, and dangerous to the Union, which we are all bound to uphold.
– It is not my intention to speak at great length, because so much has already been said on this subject. Had it not been for the statements of some honorable members, I should hardly have deemed it necessary to say anything at all. The advantages of adopting the district which I favour are so apparent that the place has only to be seen, or to be spoken of, to commend itself to all who view the question from the national rather than the provincial standpoint. I was rather surprised to hear the honorable member for Wentworth follow the line of argument which has been used by a number of other representatives of New South Wales, by mainraining that the people of that State expected to receive, as the price for joining the Union, the location of the Capital within its borders. The honorable member stated that at the first referendum fewer than 80,000 persons voted for the Bill, and that the requisite majority would not have been obtained had it not been promised that the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth would be situated in New South Wales. I deny that that is so. No doubt, in the mother State, there was a strong feeling that the Capital should be situated within its borders, and many persons supported that view when urging the acceptance of the Constitution. But to-night we must deal with this matter from the Federal stand-point. We have to select a site where the Capital will remain, not for a few years, but for all time. Consequently, we must choose the best site available, observing the provision in the Constitution, not only literally, but in its spirit as well. The meaning of the Constitution is so clearly expressed that it does not require explanation, and, therefore.. I do not propose to deal with it. I intend rather to address myself to some of the speeches which we have heard regarding certain of the proposed sites. In the first place, I ask the Committee to remember who they are who made those speeches. 6q’
The remarks of the honorable member for Moira are fresh in .our memory,, and, therefore, I shall commence with them. His objection to the Dalgety site is that it is too cold, and he had a great deal” to say of the miserable weather and the snow which he met there. Yet, in the next breath he told us that the Snowy Mountains are nearer to Tooma - which he favours - than to Dalgety ; and he had so much to say about the beauty of the Tooma climate that I almost expected to hear him recite the poem entitled “Beautiful Snow.” He did not, however, give us to understand why the snow on one side of Mr Kosciusko should be colder than the snow on the other side of it. That has not been made clear. Then again the honorable member told us, with the same cocksureness that has characterized him throughout, that he questioned the sufficiency of the water supply at Dalgety.
– I quoted the report of the Commissioners.
– I do not propose to answer the statement of honorable members, who, bereft of every other opportunity of traducing the Dalgety site, express doubts with regard to the water supply.
– I am glad the honorable member is getting a “turn” about the water supply.
– The great sorrow of the honorable member’s life is that he cannot show us any water at Lyndhurst. The honorable member is reputed to be a great temperance advocate, and Fe knows that unless an expenditure of upwards of £2,000,000 is incurred, it will be impossible to provide an adequate water supply at Lyndhurst. Mr. Pridham is my authority for that statement. No temperance man ought to advocate the adoption of the Lyndhurst site, because water will be so scarce that it will be necessary to lock up the water, and leave the whisky outside. We can fully understand that the honorable member is very touch v about any reference to the question of water supply. The honorable member for Moira stated that there was.no timber at Dalgety; but he informed us that he had not visited that part of the country since 1884.
– There was more timber there then than there is now.
– The interjection made by the honorable member reminds me of the fact that he has now submitted his sixteenth site. He started with Lyndhurst ; then he raved about Tumut, became enthusiastic about Gadara and Lacmalac, afterwards advocated the claims of Albury, and finally urged that Tooma and Welaregang should receive; favorable consideration. The record of the honorable member’s performances in this respect will prove as interesting reading as Leaves from an Office Boy’s Diary. So rapid has been his progress, that it reminds us of the entries - “ Monday, hired out; Tuesday, tired out; Wednesday, fired out.” I shall have something to say with regard lo the honorabje member, whose statements upon this Capital question entitle him to be regarded as the New South Wales Jack the Giant-Killer. The honorable member- for Moira referred to the very large expenditure that would be involved if our present railway systems were extended to Southern Monaro. He forgot to tell us that, according to the figures given in the report recently quoted by the honorable member for Wentworth, at the very lowest possible estimate, an expenditure of £500,000 would be entailed if railway communication were established be- tween the Victorian system and Welaregang. That money would have to be spent for the sole purpose of connecting Welaregang wilh the Victorian system. The same authority states that it would only be practicable to construct a railway from the New South Wales side, at an outlay that would amount to at least £300,000 or £400,000, unless a detour were made by way of Albury. I am quoting from the report, and propose to allow honorable members to decide for themselves.
– That information is not contained in the report.
– I have obtained my information from the reports presented to us. I am endeavouring to show how the honorable member for Moira has been induced to act upon information supplied by the honorable member for Hume, or some one else. I give the honorable member credit for good intentions, but he should remember that the way to a warmer place than Tumut is paved with good intentions, and should be more careful in accepting statements made to him by interested parties. The honorable member for Moira said that it was very questionable whether the Southern Monaro tableland could produce sufficient food to supply the requirements of a population of 50,000.
– There again I quoted from the report of the Commissioners.
– Let us see what one authority has to say with’ regard to that district. His statement reads as follows : -
I think if there is a district in which a railwav should be constructed it is from the tableland to the port of Eden. There is no finer port in the Colony, and there is no finer country at the back of it. It is certainly to be regretted that the construction of the line has been left so long in abeyance. There is no possible doubt that the port must become a great shipping port, and it will become a great centre of population.
– Who was that authority ?
– The honorable member for Hume.
– I spoke of the Bega district.
– The Bega country is close at hand, but it is not at the back of Eden.
– Oh, yes, it is; quite close to it.
– Since that time - within the last five years - the honorable member for Hume has advocated the construction of a railway through the Southern Monaro tableland. He Has said that it was a shame that there was no railway there, and has described the glories and wonders of the district. Now he tells us a series of Munchausen stories with regard to other sites. The words I have quoted represented the opinion of the honorable member five years ago. but no. one expects him to hold that opinion now.
– I had not seen the district. What I was referring to was the Bega country.
– Bega is on the coast, and cannot be described as situated at the back of Eden. It is of no use for the honorable member to endeavour to escape from his dilemma in that way.
– I am not endeavouring to escape.
– I know that the honorable member frequently wishes that Hansard had been burnt, because he knows that by its means he can be confounded out of his own mouth.
– No; I like Hansard. I was acting on the statements of the honorable member, and had not seen the place.
– The statement I have quoted was made in 1891, before I had the pleasure of the honorable member’s acquaintance.
– No, no.
– Politically, I mean. I believe that the honorable member was quite right in the statement he then made. I desire now to quote another statement made at the same time by a man who did a great deal for Federation, and whose name has not been mentioned in connexion with this debate. All those who believe in Federation should remember his name with respect. I refer to the late Sir Henry Parkes. He said -
It does not follow that because this very fine port has, from one cause or another, been neglected, that it will continue to be neglected. When that district is opened by railway communication, to which, in my judgment, it is richly entitled, Eden, which has a very fine harbor, will become the site of a very important maritime city. I have that faith in the progress of this country that I have long foreseen that, although retarded by unfavorable circumstances, this result is certain by the very force of growth from without. . . Twofold Bay has been the victim, if I may so term it, of singular neglect. I do not say whose fault it is. It is very difficult to distinguish ; but, certainly, before many years, Twofold Bay, where the town of Eden is situated, will become one of the most important places in New South Wales. I have no doubt whatever of that. As far back as 1873 I advocated the construction of a railway to the port, to bring the traffic of Monaro to the bay.
That was . the honest opinion of a man who knew the country, and. it was backed up by that of the honorable member for Hume.
– That railway has not been constructed yet.
– No, and if the honorable member has his way, it will probably be some little time before the railway is built. The time, however, for logrolling in connexion with railways on the part of the honorable member has gone by.
– The honorable member tried to log-roll one or two railways with me.
– It is fortunate that we have such a publication as Hansard. Its records are such that it induces us to accept the statements of- the honorable member with not the proverbial grain, but a bag of salt. The honorable member, when he spoke last night, made an attack upon the late Mr. Alexander Oliver.
– I did not attack him.
– The honorable member expressed regret that the late Mr. Oliver had made a certain report. 6 q 2
– Yes; I regretted that he had issued his last report.
– Because it did not suit the honorable member.
– I did not say that.
– No ; the honorable member did not say so, but we know what the honorable member’s policy is- He has openly announced it to be win, tie, or wrangle.
– I am going to win.
– The honorable member will neither win, tie, nor wrangle. He may walk about and boast that he will be able to turn a number of honorable members, that in fact he has their votes in his pocket, but he will find that other honorable members have opinions as well as himself, and that whilst they may, as I do, entertain a very warm personal regard for him, they will not sacrifice their principles in order to please him, by voting for his latest fad. I would remind the honorable member, who has boasted that he will be able to turn round a. number of honorable members, that he should not “halloa” before he is out of the wood.
– I have never made such a statement.
– I confidently appeal for the support of honorable members who knew Mr. Oliver, when I say that no man in New South Wales was better fitted for the task intrusted to him. The honorable member for Hume appointed him. He is very clever in selecting good men for’ certain work, and he often gets into great trouble over them. He selects good men, and whilst everything goes to suit him they are all right. After appointing Mr. Oliver, with the approbation of the people of New South Wales, he has turned round and accused him of having found fault with the conclusions of the Royal Commission appointed by the Commonwealth Government. I have nothing to say against the Commissioners. As I told the honorable member for Moira, no one doubts their honesty ; but a great many persons doubt the impartiality of one member of the Commission.
– That is a very unfair thing to say.
– I intend to say what I think.
– It is very unfair even to think it.
– I intend to prove it.
– The honorable member cannot prove it.
– Perhaps not to the satisfaction of the honorable member. The late Mr. Oliver was appointed by the New South Wales Government to report upon the various sites suggested for the Federal Capital. About sixty sites were offered. Mr. Oliver went round the country and made patient inquiry into the respective claims of about thirty of these.
– He inquired closely into the merits of fourteen sites.
– He made a general inquiry in respect of about thirty sites, but he examined the claims of fourteen of them very carefully. What was the result? He advised that Bombala was the best site available, with Yass and Orange coming next in that order. He also added that if Tumut were connected by rail he would have to include it in his list of the most eligible sites. The honorable member for Hume has declared that the late Mr. Oliver had a peculiar habit of selecting men who were incapable of doing the work which was assigned to them.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable member said that he did not select men who were at the top of their profession.
– The honorable member has no right to make what he knows to be misstatements.
- Mr. Oliver singled out the sites which I have mentioned. What do we find? That after three or four years of inquiry the most suitable sites have been practically narrowed down to those which the late Mr. Oliver selected in the first instance. That is a great compliment to that gentleman, and it is a pity indeed, now that he is in his grave, that comparisons should be made between him and some of the other Commissioners. The honorable member for Hume has found fault with the late Mr. Oliver for taking exception to the appointment of Mr. Kirkpatrick to the Capital Sites Commission. I have no desire to say anything derogatory to Mr. Kirkpatrick, but I do hold that to compare him with the late Mr. Oliver, from the stand-point of ability to sift evidence, is like comparing a 6 feet by 8 feet tent with the Parliament House in which we sit. In justice to his memory, I claim that the honorable member for Hume indulged in a most unfair attack upon him. The honorable member has been going round the country talking about the blizzards experienced at Bombala. No doubt he thought that the cry would catch on; but, as a matter of fact, it has become such a standing joke that when people see him approaching they exclaim, “ Here comes Bombala’s blizzard Bill.” It may be an interesting sort of joke, but, unfortunately, this is not a question to joke about. Personally I do not mind the honorable member’s statements, but I feel that it is my duty to point out how misleading they are, lest some honorable members who are not acquainted with the facts might be disposed to believe them. What does the honorable member know about Bombala? He went there, and was upon the sick-list. He immediately obtained a special coach, and asked to be driven home as fast as possible. When he arrived at Cooma, he declared that it must be a Godforsaken place, because it contained no refreshmentroom.
– No; the honorable member for Perth was with me at the time.
– Yes ; and the honorable member has pictured the terrible misery of the honorable member for Perth. No doubt he was very much disgusted with that honorable member when he found that, despite all that had been told him during this sick coach journey, he had voted for the selection of Bombala. I say that we should get along much better if honorable members would rely upon the merits of the sites which they advocate, instead of attempting to traduce other sites, in the hope that some honorable member will be foolish enough to believe their statements. The honorable member for Hume has been going about affirming that neither the Dalgety nor the Southern Monaro site has any chance of being selected, in the hope that some honorable members will support the Tooma site.
– What did the honorable member, say about typhoid at Tumut?
– What did the Capital Sites Commissioners say?’ The evidence taken by them was to the effect that one creek supplied a number of typhoid cases for1 a period of seventeen years.
– Oh, no.
– I say that my statement is correct.
– I should like the honorable member to quote the particular passage from the evidence. It was stated that, there had not been a single case of typhoid for seven years.
– It ishardly the province of the Prime Minister to chime in, with a view to helping the honorable member for Hume. He has given him sufficient help in the past. It is a fortunate thing for me that, to a certain extent, the honorable gentleman is muzzled. Some of the statements which he has made against the Monaro district will not bear analysis.
– I have never spoken upon the subject.
– But during the last Parliament the Prime Minister made desperate efforts to prevent the Monaro site from being selected. He made it a personal matter against the Monaro district.
– A personal matter against the honorable member?
– No, but the Prime Minister used his Own personal popularity with honorable members to prevent the Monaro district from being selected. He has sworn a sort of vendetta against that district. However, I do not mind his opposition, because he fights in the open. The honorable member for Hume has stated that trees will not grow in the Monaro district.
– There are very few trees there.
– If honorable members will peruse the report of the Commissioners, they will find that it contains a reference to the “ inexhaustible forests “ of Bombala. That, I think, is a sufficient answer to the statement of the honorable member. When he was asked where all the opossum skins came from if there were no trees at Bombala, he solemnly declared that they were ground opossums. Had they been under-ground opossums, he might have been an authority upon the subject.
– Will the honorable member produce a few more inventions?
– I know what is responsible for this wonderful change on the part of the honorable member. The other day the Age published a copy of a letter which had been written bv the honorable member to a newspaper in his district, in which he declared his conviction that a majority of .honorable mem-‘ bers were in favour of selecting the Bombala site.
– I do not think I said that.
– The honorable member did say it. His letter is headed : “ The New Idea,” and it appeared in the Age of the 4th July last. That journal says -
A Riverina paper has received a letter from Sir William Lyne, stating that there is no doubt that a majority in the Federal Parliament is against the sites near the town of Tumut. Sir William Lyne states that he is now endeavouring to get the area selected for Bombala so extended that it will take in Tumut. Members who visited the Murray site with Sir William Lyne have impressed others with the suitability of that locality, and it is likely there will be a sufficient number to support the new idea. He says that any amount of underground engineering is going on in favour of Bombala, and some of his colleagues in the late Ministry are the principal movers.
– That is not my letter.
– Not only is it the honorable member’s letter, but the Gundagai Independent, which is published in his own constituency, reprints it, criticises it, and frankly declares that if a Tumut site cannot win by the adoption of other tactics than these, it is preferable that it should be left out in the cold.
– That is the honorable member’s paper.
– I have never been in Gundagai. That is the statement made by a newspaper which is published in the. honorable member’s own district.
– Will the honorable member read the statement from the Gundagai Independent?
– I will read it for the benefit of the honorable member presently.
– That was Mr. Reid’s letter.
– The honorable member induced Mr. David Reid to come to Melbourne to be exhibited as a product of the Tumut district, but he sent him home very rapidly when I. discovered that all his early life had been spent in the Monaro district. The Gundagai Independent takes the honorable member to task for having made such a fatal blunder. A little while ago, Mr. B. R. Wise affirmed that the Monaro tableland was a verv suitable place for the establishment of the Federal Capital. The honorable member for Hume immediately denounced him for having interfered. He said that Mr. Wise had no right to indulge in any such criticism. Apparently, nobody has a right to criticise. I have no desire to say anything against the Tooma site, because I have not seen it. But I have seen the Albury site, and there is not much difference between the two. The former is a little closer to the snow line, but its altitude is about the same as is that of Alburv. It is between 1,100 and 1,600 feet above sea level. . The last Parliament decided that no site should be eligible for selection which had an altitude of less than 1,500 feet, but that provision has been carefully eliminated from this Bill. Why? In my opinion, because its omission suited the district represented by the honorable member.
– The honorable member has been told that I knew nothing about the matter, and consequently it is not fair for him to make that statement.
– I do not say that the provision was eliminated at the instigation . of the honorable member, but I believe that it was omitted to suit his district. Otherwise, how is it that when one of the surveyors discovered that the sites in the Tumut area, which had an altitude of more than 1,500 feet, were not suitable for the Federal Capital, inquiries were immediately set on foot in respect of sites with a less altitude. Was it merely a remarkable coincidence?
– That is a very unworthy insinuation.
– In view of the suggestions made last night by the honorable member as to trickery having been resorted to, I am not much concerned about his complaint. There is certainly reasonable ground for inquiring what was the reason for this change.
– I do not know the reason. The honorable member should ask the Prime Minister; the honorable member knows that I was not aware that the alteration had been made until he mentioned it to me.
– The honorable member will have an opportunity presently to refute my statements if he can. Is it not singular that even to-day we have no information showing whether Tooma has an elevation of 1,100 feet or of 1,500 feet.
– Had the honorable member taken the trouble to look at the map he’ would have gained the information for himself.
– It has an elevation of between 900 and 1,100 feet.
– The honorable member for South Sydney, whose word will be readily accepted, states that Tooma has an elevation of between 900 and 1,100 feet.
– If he makes thatstatement after looking at the map his word is not worth much.
– I shall not comment on the honorable member’s statement as to the old lady who died a day or two ago at the age of 102, after living in the Upper Murray district for fifty years. That is a very feeble way to attempt to bolster up the merits of a’ particular site. The honorable member has been examining the list of deaths in the district, in order to discover such cases, and is welcome to any evidence of that kind that may be forthcoming. I have no objection to his bolstering up the claims of Tooma in that way, but I certainly object to his making an assertion about the Southern Monaro district which he is unable to prove. He told the Committee last night that a cousin of mine had been sent to the Upper Murray district, with a view to influence honorable members against its selection. I can only say that I have inspected the sites in company with other honorable members, who know the country as well as, if not better than, the honorable member “for Hume. I was not aware that I had a cousin living in that district; but if I have, he shows his good sense in speaking against its selection. One reason why I doubt whether the man in question is a cousin of mine is that I do not think it possible that he would leave Southern Monaro for that part of New South Wales. Then the honorable member has made various suggestions- as to the timber resources of the Southern Monaro district. It has been drummed into our ears to such an extent that there is no timber in that district that we are constrained to examine the reports of the Commissioners who were appointed by the honorable member to ascertain the real facts. And what do we find ? We find that they refer to the inexhaustible forests to be found there. We have also statistics as to the output of saw-mills in Southern Monaro.
Are those saw-mills engaged in cutting up blocks of ice? ,
– -Possibly granite.
– It is, to say the least of it, somewhat singular that the honorable member for Hume should assert that there is no timber in the neighbourhood of Dalgety or Bombala, when there are three saw-mills in the district, and they carry on a thriving and lucrative business. Another assertion made by the honorable member for . Hume was that Cooma was supposed to comprise the best lands in the Monaro district. Every honorable member who comes from New South Wales knows what reliance can be placed on such a statement. It is said that the railway constructed to Cooma does not pay. But what are the facts associated .with the construction of that line? In New South Wales a Public Works Committee, consisting of Members of Parliament, deal with every proposal to build a railway. They analyze the reports, consider the estimates, and having gone closely into all the facts make a recommendation to Parliament. The Prime Minister was at one time a member of that Public Works Committee, and will be able to tell the Committee that it invariably makes an exhaustive inquiry in regard to all the proposed works submitted to its consideration. One of the boasts of the Committee is that it has saved the State many millions of pounds by refusing to recommend many works which have been suggested. After the Public Works Committee have inquired into a proposal to construct certain lines, the Railway Commissioners are asked to make a report on the lines selected for construction by the Public Works Committee. That Committee, however, while the honorable member for Hume was in office, in New South Wales, reported in favour of the construction of the Cooma line, and the Railway Commissioners subsequently stated that they were amazed to find so great an area of good country stretching away from Cooma farther south. On commercial grounds - quite apart from any suggestion as to the establishment of the Federal Capital in that district - they recommended the construction of the line. That is my answer to the honorable member’s assertions. The railway estimates are open for inspection, but it is unnecessary for me to deal fully with the figures, because honorable members are already familiar with them. I would point out, however, that an old estimate of the cost of constructing a railway from Cooma to Dalgety is £127,000. We are told that we may take off 20 per cent, from many of the old estimates, so that in (round figures the construction of the line to Dalgety, which is half way between Cooma and Bombala, would involve an outlay of about £100,000. To carry on the line to Bombala would require the further expenditure of a similar amount.
– What would be the cost of constructing a railway line from Bairnsdale to Dalgety?
– I might as well ask the honorable member what it would cost to construct a railway line from Lyndhurst to Fremantle. All these railways will be made in due course. Surely the honorable member knows that it is not proposed to do everything at once. Much has been said about the cost of a water supply for Dalgety or Bombala, but we have Mr. Pridham’s report that an outlay of over £2,000,000 would be necessary to secure a water supply at Lyndhurst. We have a further estimate as to what the cost would be per head, provided that the population of the Capital were sufficient to pay the cost of every gallon of water brought to Lyndhurst. Honorable members who favour that site have carefully refrained from mentioning the aggregate cost of a water supply, but I shall give the Committee some facts bearing on the question. I have nothing to say against Lyndhurst, all that I desire is that honorable members shall be in possession of all the facts, and that they shall consider them.
– Has the honorable member Mr. Pridham’s report as to the cost of a water supply for Lyndhurst ? The £2,000,000 is the cost with working expenses capitalized.
– It is remarkable that the honorable member for” Macquarie has not seen fit to give the Committee the estimate of the total cost.
– I have.
– There is a running river flowing bv the Dalgety and Bombala sites, and if either of these were selected, the only expense which would have to be incurred to secure a water supply for the Capital would be in providing a tank or a pump or something of the kind. If we selected Lyndhurst it would be almost impossible for the residents of the Capital to obtain a drink of water. When I visited that site we could not obtain one. The honorable member for Hume also told us a story about the Bairnsdale railway and the zigzag.
– I have the plans here.
– Some of the honorable member’s plans in regard to the settlement of this question will fall to the ground. I am prepared to accept the opinion of the Chief Victorian Railway Commissioner in preference to that of the honorable member for Hume, in regard to the extension of the railway from Bairnsdale to the border. The Commission appointed by him report that the Chief Victorian Railway Commissioner stated that a railway from Bairnsdale via Orbost would have to be constructed for State purposes, quite apart from any question as to the establishment of the Federal Capital at Bombala or Dalgety. The honorable member is very ingenious in endeavouring to saddle the sites in the Southern Monaro district with all the expense of building such a line. If we established the Capital at Dalgety or Bombala, the first expenditure necessary would be incurred in supplying railway communication ; but there would be no occasion to spend any money in securing a water supply. We should have a pure stream of running water at hand,’ and practically every other requirement would be available, so that no additional expense would be incurred. On the other hand, it would be impossible to construct a railway to Tooma from Victoria, or to connect that site with the railway system of New South Wales, without incurring a very heavy outlay. We have also to consider whether we should for all time have to rely on a railway for the carriage of heavy freights to the Capital, or whether we should avail ourselves of the great highway of the world - the ocean waterway - which is within fifty miles of Bombala. Comparisons are odious, and I should not make them, but that I desire to answer some of the statements of the honorable member for Hume. The Commissioners appointed by him when Minister of Home Affairs report that the Chief Railway Commissioner of Victoria said that a railway from Bairnsdale via Orbost w.ould have to be constructed for State purposes. That should be a sufficient answer to his assertions in that respect. When speaking last night the honorable member referred to tricks and strategy and other like methods, which he said had been resorted to; but any one who gets the best of him when fighting on these lines should be welcome to his victory. He stated that Bombala and Dalgety were further south than is Welaregang, but I have had the map measured, and find that Dalgety is in a direct line nearer Sydney than is the Upper Murray site. The honorable member is not very sure on that point, but if the Upper Murray site were nearer Sydney than is Dalgety, he would have no hesitation in mentioning that fact. If a railway were constructed to Tooma it would have to strike in at Queanbeyan, and it would be necessary to tunnel under Mount Kosciusko, and, indeed, right through the Australian Alps. On the face of it, the suggestion that such a railway should be constructed is too absurd to receive a moment’s consideration. The honorable member admits that for three years - during the life of the first Federal Parliament - he was of opinon that the selection of the Upper Murray site would be unfair to Sydney, and he credits the honorable member for Grampians with having introduced that site into the arena. We know that the honorable member for Grampians, and the honorable member for Moira spoke out for the Upper Murray site when this question was before us last session; but what assistance did they receive from the honorable member for Hume, who was then Minister of Home Affairs? He might very well have granted the inspection which they asked on behalf of the Upper Murray site, just as he granted my request that Dalgety should be inspected. I desire to acknowledge that in that respect the honorable member treated Dalgety very fairly.
– I am glad to hear that I did something right.
– If the honorable member for Grampians, and the. honorable member for Moira thought that the Upper Murray site was such an excellent one, why did they not take action ? What were they doing ? Were they asleep ?
– We were not quite as clever as was the honorable member.
– While those who favoured other sites succeeded in obtaining reports from the Commissioners, they sat quietly by, and it was only at the last moment that they were able to secure the consideration of the Upper Murray district. If Tooma is to be seriously considered, why should it not be scrutinized as. closely as other sites have been?
– We shall be delighted to have it examined.
– The honorable member became rather heated this evening when he was referred to a statement in the report of the Commission on the Murray River, that the water was slimy. What position should we occupy if, without any information as to the altitude of the Upper Murray site, the area available, the cost of providing an adequate water supply, and the characteristics of the climate, and only a hazy notion of whether it could be connected with the railway system of New South Wales - with nothing before tis save that snow-capped hills can be seen in the distance - we selected that site? If it went forth to the world that we had selected that site, in the absence1 of any information in regard to all these important points, would not our proceedings appear farcical in the eyes of the people? The honorable member for Hume raked up one or two photographs of the Upper Murray district, and exhibited them in this House. 1 should like to know whether they are not photographs of country on the Victorian side of the river.
– One of them is.
– I invite him to inform the Committee how far the site which he now so warmly advocates is from the River Murray, and what he has to say as to the unearned increment about which he waxed eloquent last session, when he submitted a map of Tumut to the Committee, and pointed to the large area of Crown land which we might secure there. It would be interesting to have an explanation on that point, and to know why he has changed the opinion which he held for three years that the selection of the Upper Murray site would be unfair to New South Wales.
– Tt would be just as fair as would be the selection of Bombala or Dalgety.
– But Bombala and Dalgety were in the list originally submitted to us in the last Parliament.
– And I objected to both of them.
– In the first report made by the late Mr. Oliver on something like thirteen different sites, Southern Monaro was placed first for water. The Commissioners which the honorable member appointed objected to go to Dalgety.
– Only one member of the Commission objected.
– I am not going to attack any of the officers.
– Only one objected to go to Dalgety, and it was not Mr. Kirkpatrick.
– The report of Mr. Kirkpatrick, against whom I say nothing, was a most remarkable one, as coming from a Commissioner who put the Bombala and Dalgety sites, whatever their faults may be, nearly last on the list in regard to water supply. The honorable member for Hume possibly knows that the absence of a water supply is a strong objection, and that is why he thought it necessary to say something unkind about Mr. Oliver, who merely repeated what his engineers had told him. Mr. Oliver only said what he thought, and what was thought by a great many people in the country, namely, that Mr. Kirkpatrick, no doubt unconsciously, was biased in favour of two particular sites. It is remarkable, however, that both of these sites happen to be in the district represented by the honorable member for Hume. I am sorry that the honorable member for Hume should drag these remarks from me. No one knows better than that honorable member what the honorable and learned member for Balaclava and Sir Alexander Peacock said in regard to Albury. Both of these gentlemen expressed the opinion that to select Albury would be unfair. We remember the desperate efforts made by the honorable member for Hume in support of Albury - how he stood on the hilltop there, in the midst of one of the regular daily duststorms, ‘ and said, “ Gentlemen, there is a lovely site here if we could only see it.” The honorable member for Hume knows that it was the visit of honorable members to Tumut which killed the chances of that site. Tumut was regarded as a compromise, but that visit, as I say, put it “out of the running.” We can remember the honorable member for Hume standing on the Tumut site, and as the perspiration poured off him, remarking - “ This is a most invigorating climate.” What has made the honorable member change his .mind as to Albury ? What is the difference between Tumut, Tooma, and Welaregang? Why did he not stick to Gadara, Lacmalac, Tomorroma, or one of the other sites on which he was previously so keen ? Did not Mr. Chesterman make an enthusiastic “report in favour of Tooma ? But in that report he was like Mr. Kirkpatrick, not speaking from official records, but from memory. The honorable member forgets that Mr. Chesterman enthused about Tomorroma and Batlow.
– It was the Prime Minister who discovered Batlow.
– Possibly Mr. Chesterman thought that he was following a pretty good judge, and would get a strong backing. The honorable member for Hume is clever enough to know that the Prime Minister would not think of voting for the Upper Murray site. The Prime Minister, however, is in favour of Batlow, and by including Lacmalac, Tumut, and Tomorroma all in one district with Batlow, the honorable member for Hume has been clever enough to “gather in” the Prime Minister. The worst of it is that when the Prime Minister makes up his mind he sticks to his determination, whereas I should be very glad to see him change and give his support to the Monaro sites. I do not wish to say anything more about the honorable member for Hume’s tirade of abuse in regard to Monaro, nor do I want to say anything against the site which he favours. The honorable member’s statements are in cold type, and in my own simple way I have endeavoured to analyze them. Judging by the lightning changes on the part of the honorable member for Hume, those honorable members who propose to rely on his judgment will have to make changes equally dazzling.
– Is this an attack on the honorable member for Grampians?
– The honorable member for Grampians has consistently advocated the Upper Murray site; he has never said that the selection of such a site would be unfair to New South Wales, or that any place under an altitude of 1,500 feet is unsuitable. I have, however, a private grievance against the honorable member for Grampians, who has not only endeavoured to defeat the selection of the site which I favour, but has now stolen my leader. We hear nothing now from the honorable member for Hume about the wonderful maize and tobacco crops at Tumut. The honorable member used to tell us of maize which topped the fence, and of tobacco crops which were so strong that the product was unsaleable. The honorable member was, however, reminded that where such tobacco and maize can be grown - although the soil may be fertile- ‘is hardly a place in which men can live with comfort. The honorable member is in posses sion of about half-a-dozen maps, but I guarantee that amongst them we could not find that large map which he used to take around amongst honorable members in order to show the immense area of Crown lands available at Tumut. We all know that there are plenty of experienced men looking for good land - that many are found balloting for one area - and it is nonsense to tell us that there are now any great areas of good Crown land available. As a matter of fact, there is no such land available; it is all locked up in reserves, or is so far away from markets as to be of no use. If this Upper Murray site is to be seriously considered by honorable members, then, in justice to -the country, and in justice to ourselves, we ought to have some further information regarding it. We ought not to be such arrant fools as to select a place about which we know nothing.
– We do not want any further delay.
– Nor do I, but delay is preferable to a crime; and it would certainly be a crime to select a place without full knowledge. I am told by honorable members who have visited the Upper Murray site that the land is very fertile, that there is plenty of water, and that the climate is good. I have no doubt that these statements are true - that honorable members honestly believe that the climate and the water supply are all right. But we must ‘remember what the honorable member for Wentworth said to-night when he told us of the thirteen running streams which could be seen from the Bombala site coming down the hillside like so many streaks of silver. The report of the engineer was that a water supply could be got by gravitation, and a nice case was built up for Bombala, until the mistake in this connexion was discovered. Mr. Oliver, who’ has been taken to task by the honorable member for Hume, frankly admitted, like an honest man, that a mistake had been made, but he did not admit that water could not be brought to Bombala by gravitation. Such a work is only a questionof money. We should have to go further back for the water; and the same remark applies to all the sites. No doubt watercan be seen flowing through the Upper Murray territory, but it is a question of the distance it would have to be carried to the Federal Capital.
– Sixteen miles.
– No doubt the honorable member honestly believes- that that is the distance. I was under a similar impression in regard to Bombala, but I now admit that it would be necessary to go further back in order to obtain . water by gravitation. Indeed, if we go back far. enough we can get water from the Snowy River ; and, according to the reports we have received, there are great falls half-way between Bombala and Dalgety, which could be utilized for the provision of cheap pumping power. Let us look at the question from another aspect. Let us leave the Royal Commission which made the peculiar report to which I have referred, and ask ourselves what was done by the late Parliament. The late Government have been taken much to task for not expediting this matter. It seems to me, however, that a great deal of expedition was used. The reports which were called for took a long time to prepare, and when they had been supplied, certain votes were given by honorable members, and changes took place in this House. We fixed on an altitude of 1,500 feet as necessary for the Capital, and further reports were called for. And what happened when the House proceeded to vote? At first Bombala was at the head of the poll, but by degrees other sites were dropped out, and at last Tumut defeated Bombala by one vote, the supporters of the Bombala site then transferring their support to the former. The Bill was sent backwards and forwards between the two Houses, but we came to no conclusion. It was then determined to get further information, and the right honorable member for Swan was asked to make an inspection with a view to’ a report. Who is Sir John Forrest?
– Order ! The honorable member must not address other honorable members by name.
– I was speaking of the right honorable member for Swan in connexion with the report he made. The honorable member for Macquarie has told us, what is perfectly true, that Mr. Wade is a great engineer, to whom, on a question of water supply, we should pay much attention. We all know the late Mr. Oliver’s reputation, and read with respect any report he may have written. But if there is one man who is fitted more than another to make an inspection of the kind - who, by his past experience in exploration and his known impartiality in the matter, is capable of giving an unbiased opinion - it is the right honorable member for Swan. That is not merely my opinion, a similar expression having been used by the honorable member for South Sydney. It is possible that the honorable member for Darling and others behind the Government might not be inclined to accept the opinion of the right honorable member for Swan on arbitration or . other industrial matters - although in Western Australia the right honorable gentleman showed his liberality in these directions - but his greatest political opponents must admit that it was a very happy idea to ask him, as Minister of Home Affairs, to visit this part of the Commonwealth and make a report.
– The right honorable member was “personally conducted.”
– No doubt the right honorable member was “ personally conducted” by Colonel Owen; but I cannot understand why the honorable member for Wentworth should take exception to that fact.
– I take no exception.
– Why does the honorable member remark, with a sneer, that the right honorable member was “ personally conducted “ ?
– There is no sneer.
– I think the honorable member for Eden-Monaro went part of the wav with the right honorable member.
– I did not go round with the right honorable member on that occasion. I did accompany him in May, two years ago, on a visit to the Monaro sites. The Prime Minister, I am very glad to say, is now to a certain extent muzzled, but I can remember the wild statements which he made in regard to Eden-Monaro, and which he was unable to prove.
– I can prove ‘every statement I made.
– Whyshould the Prime Minister suggest that the fact that I accompanied the right honorable member for Swan would influence the opinion of that gentleman ?
– I do not think that the presence of the honorable member for EdenMonaro would make any difference to the right honorable member for Swan.
– We have heard a good deal about the blizzards in the Eden-Monaro district, but it must be remembered that honorable members made their visit in winter - in May or June.
– In May.
– The honorable member’s statement as to the visit being paid in April is very like his story about the blizzards. At any rate, I did not make the mistake which the honorable member made when he took honorable members on a visit to Tumut in the summer time, with the result that the chances of that place were killed “in one act.” We have to ask ourselves what were the qualifications of the right honorable member for Swan to make a report of the kind desired. In his report he laid down the essentials for a Capital Site, looking very carefully into the facts connected with the whole of the sites; and it is remarkable that a large majority of those who made personal visits of inspection are in favour of Monaro.
– The right honorable member for Swan has not seen Tooma.
– In my opinion if the right honorable member for Swan were to see Tooma and believed that it was a better site than Dalgety, he would have no hesitation in saying so I am sure that every other honorable member believes the same of him. It is an insull to him to say that he gave his opinior with regard to Dalgety simply because I went with him. He also had with him Colonel Owen, the Inspector-General of Public Works, a very able engineer, who probably has no axe to grind. He knows the Monaro country well. He has been camping there.
– Trout fishing.
– If honorable members want fish stories they can get them from the honorable member for Hume. What does Colonel Owen say ? He reports strongly in favour of Southern Monaro. I point to these as the opinions of disinterested experts, whose reputation, to a large extent, hangs upon their judgment of these various sites. They stand by Southern Monaro thoroughly. Is it not a remarkable thing that the bulk of the Victorian members and the bulk of the New South Wales members respectively are supporting either the Upper Murray or the Lyndhurst site? I do not say that they are not honestly supporting those sites. I give all honorable members full credit for honesty, and believe that they will vote for the site which they consider to be best in the interests of the Commonwealth. But, nevertheless, is it not remarkable that the Upper Murray vote . will be principally given by Victorian members, whilst the Lyndhurst vote will be principally given by New South Wales members? Is it not also a remarkable fact that the bulk of the members from other States who have no personal interest to serve in favouring one site more than another, are supporting the Southern Monaro site? I should be quite prepared to take the decision of honorable members representing the other States, and to let the representatives of Victoria and New South Wales stand aside altogether.
– That is verv rich!
– I ‘ know what the verdict would be. Of course, I do not propose to take such a course; but still it is remarkable that the bulk of the independent opinion of this House is in favour of the Southern Monaro site. A great many speeches have been delivered with regard to the Federal Capital. It has been considered from many standpoints. We had a very glowing speech from the honorable member for Richmond. He dwelt upon the beauties and the glories and the grandeur of a Capital such as Australia should possess, assured us that the site for which he intended to vote was most beautiful, and urged that- it was necessary that we should consider picturesqueness. But is it not a peculiar thing that the honorable member was not able to assure the Committee that he had even seen the site which he proposes to support? The. honorable member for Gwydir also made a very able speech. It was a fine descriptive speech, and any one who heard it must have admired very much the earnestness with which he entered into details. In the course of his remarks he read a long letter which he had sent to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, in which he set forth some facts which had been given to him - probably by the honorable member for Hume - showing that during the drought the Upper Murray site was able to maintain fifteen sheep or one bullock to the acre.
– The Daily Telegraph reported the honorable member as making a two hours’ speech in favour of Tooma.
– The fact is that the honorable member for Gwydir, after making a very able speech in support of the Southern Monaro site, dwelling strongly upon the reports of the experts, declared that he intended to vote for a site which he knew nothing about, except that he had been there for a very short time, in company with the honorable member for Hume. That was a remarkable position to take up. It does some credit to the honorable member’s imagination that he should attempt to arrive at a conclusion on such slender evidence. The right honorable member for East Sydney has assured the Committee that the finger of destiny is pointing to Lyndhurst. All I can say is that, if we were to select Lyndhurst on account of its accessibility, we should be taking a very short-sighted view of our responsibilities. It would be very peculiar if we were to select a site for the Capital on account of the conveniences which at present prevail in regard to ths conveyance of Members of Parliament, and were to ignore the fact, which I take to be certain, that within a very few years, wherever we fix the Capital Site, the district will be riddled with railways. It is taking a shortsighted view to say that we should clump down the Capital at ;some place where there is a railway at present, whilst ignoring the means of communication that are bound to be provided in the future. The honorable and learned member for Wannon has urged that the Capital ought to be located in Sydney, on the ground that that would lead to a saving in expenditure, but I would remind the Committee that there could then be no return whatever to the Commonwealth in the shape of unearned increment. . The effect would simply be to make the corner blocks and the good sites that are now held by private individuals worth far more money, without the Commonwealth receiving any return. We ought to put the Capital in the bush, on the score of economy. It does not need any argument to show that 1 “ bush Capital,” as it is called, would be very much cheaper for the people of Australia than a Capital situated in one of the great cities. I venture to say that of the three western sites Lyndhurst is the worst. Its supporters may bolster it up as much as they please, but it seems clear to my mind that if any western site is to be chosen, Lyndhurst certainly ought not to be favoured. Either Orange or Bathurst would be preferable. The strong feeling in favour of Lyndhurst is simply a reflex of the opinions expressed by the Sydney daily newspapers. Honorable members get a good deal of their politics from these journals. Their views are drummed into us every morning. I do not, however, question the honesty of the supporters of the Lyndhurst site. I am quite sure that the honorable member for North Sydney would not support it unless he believed in it. I can also quite understand the anxiety of the honorable member for
Macquarie to see it selected. I feel like that myself sometimes regarding Monaro.
– Is the honorable member supporting Bombala or Dalgety?
– I will “tell the honorable member if he will answer a question which I put to him. I am quite prepared to take the area that was selected by the Senate. I think we ought to have a large area. I wish to have a gateway to the sea, and also an entrance from another State. It is in my opinion for Parliament to select the area, and the choosing of the actual site is rather a matter for experts.
– But what about the honorable member’s constituents?
– Probably the honorable and learned member for Wannon is one of those who consider the desires of their constituents a good deal. Personally, I have no hesitation in saying that I like the Bombala site, and believe in it.
– Which site is the honorable member going to vote for?
– I believe that Bombala is the best site.
– Is the honorable member going to vote for it?
– I will vote for a district or territory, not a particular site. I have made a careful analysis of the opinions of honorable members, and I know that very few of them are prepared to vote for Bombala. I am not fool enough to throw away my vote. I am not prepared to follow the course which the honorable member for Hume took on a former occasion. I am not going to urge honorable members to vote for Dalgety, while I myself vote for Bombala. I urge them to vote for Monaro district, and leave the selection of the exact site to experts. In this way all selectors of Monaro will stand solidly together. I strongly resent the inference of the honorable and learned member for Wannon; and as for the honorable member for Hume, he should be one of the last to make the insinuation which his question implies. He, himself, on the occasion of the first ballot, voted for Albury, whilst he urged other honorable members to vote for Tumut, deserting one site after another, and afterwards trying to placate the supporters of Tumut by talking vaguely of a railway. An honorable member who pursues such a course should be the last to ask a question. I ask the honorable gentleman now to come out from his ambush. I ask him if he is prepared to tell the Committee for which site he intends to vote. I pause for the honorable gentleman’s reply. There is no fear that I shall get an answer to that question. This is but an instance of what the honorable member for Hume will try to do. I tell the Committee frankly that I believe Bombala is the best site; but as a large number of honorable members have assured me, in a perfectly straightforward way, that they believe in Dalgety, and will vote for it, while they will not vote for Bombala, I say frankly that when we come to the question of the selection of the exact site, I shall vote for the site in the Monaro district which I think will win.
– Does the honorable member think he ought to do that ?
– The honorable member for Macquarie has done some funny things himself. He was at one time very much concerned as to how he should vote, but I believe he has come to a conclusion on the subject at last. I am free to admit, however, that in little matters of this kind, if we required any one to watch the honorable member for Hume, no one could do it better than the honorable member for Macquarie.
– Has the honorable member made a careful analysis of the voting that is likely to be recorded for Tumut and Tooma?
– I have been asked a question, and I have had no hesitation whatever in answering it. I should like “to know whether there is any other information I can give honorable members. I am acting entirely above board, and I am saying exactly what I think on this matter.
– Is that something unusual?
– It may be’ the opinion of the honorable member for Moira that it is something unusual for me to say what I think, but if I desired an opinion on that subject I should not go to the honorable member for it.. The honorable member usually speaks his mind pretty frankly, and I can well understand why he is not prepared to accept my analysis of his statements. He realizes now that he has had a lot of absurd statements pumped into him by some one else, probably the honorable member for Hume, and he has given them out here like a phono graph. The honorable member now wishes to take it out of me, because I have shown that there is nothing in those statements.
– I have not stolen the honorable gentleman’s leader.
– It is rather hard for the honorable member for Moira to have to renounce the honorable member for Hume, but I can well understand why he should do so when he finds that that honorable gentleman lid him astray at the start.
– The honorable gentleman never mentioned the subject to me.
– The honorable’ member for Moira now admits that it would be better that he should not follow the honorable member for Hume in the future. We have heard a great deal of the productiveness of the different sites. When the honorable member for Gippsland quoted certain figures, showing the productiveness of the Monaro district, the honorable members for Hume and Macquarie pooh-poohed the idea of anything growing in that district. They at once stated that what Mr. Coghlan . said could not be correct. His statistical records of the wheat and maize grown in the Monaro district are not accepted by the honorable member for Hume.
– In garden plots.
– Garden plots are not . troubling the Prime Minister at the present time. There are other plots that are worrying the honorable gentleman.
– Preference plots?
– I have ascertained that one of the mills at -Bombala has refused to take any more of the wheat grown in the district, because it is blocked up, and we know that there are mills also at Cooma and at other towns in the district. If honorable members should ask why settlers in the Monaro district cannot grow wheat for export, the answer is because they are so far from the railway. I need not give merely my own assertions, or the figures of Coghlan. I am prepared to accept the statistics quoted by the honorable member for Gippsland. That honorable member is very careful in submitting, figures in this chamber, and I am prepared to accept the figures he has quoted without entering upon an argument with the honorable member for Hume as to whether Coghlan had not some reason or other to falsify his statistical register in order to show that the productiveness of the soil was greater in the Monaro district than in other districts of New South Wales.
– What is the birth rate?
– I am referring to the productiveness as regards wheat and maize. I know that Bombala and the district around it can hold its own with any of the other districts of New South Wales. I can state as a fact that on the coast below Bombala, and within ten miles of the radius fixed by the Senate, land required for growing maize brought at public competition £100 per acre.
– That is at Bega, on the coast.
– Yes, at Bega; but the honorable member for Hume contended some time ago that the Monaro district could not furnish food supplies for the Federal Capital.
– That is not in the Monaro district.
– I am glad that the honorable member is finding something to which he can take exception. The honorable gentleman would not accept the statistics quoted by the honorable member for Gippsland, nor would he accept Cog/dan’s statistics; and I now ask him why people should give such high prices for land in the district? If the honorable gentleman asks me why they do not give similarly high prices for land in other parts of the Monaro district, the answer is that it is because there is no means of getting the products of the land to market.
– Because there is no good land.
– The honorable gentleman may make that bald assertion if it pleases him, but he knows that it is because there is no means of getting the products of the land to market. The honorable gentleman must be aware that on Bibbenluke and Gunningrah there are 100,000 acres which are supposed to be suitable for close settlement, and they are only -waiting for a railway to the district. He must be aware that at Nimitvbelle, with an elevation of 4,000 feet, the Mount Cooper estate was recently inspected by New South Wales Government experts, who recommended the Government to purchase the estate for purposes of closer settlement.
– It is not fit for closer settlement.
– The honorable gentleman has- seen it only when dashing through in a coach, but Government experts, after an inquiry extending over eight or nine days, have decided that it is fit for closer settlement, and have recommended that the New South Wales Government should buy it for that purpose. That is looked upon as one of the poor places in the district. Honorable members may take exception to it, because the value is fixed at £2 10s. per acre. The reason for that again is because there is no railway communication to this land. There are 60,000 acres on Bibbenluke, 40,000 acres on Gunningrah, and 30,000 or 40,000 acres on Maharatta. I can appeal to honorable members, who know as much about country as does the honorable member for Hume, and who were driven out before breakfast to look at these places, to say whether these estates are not suitable for closer settlement. The country is poohpoohed because a high value is not put upon it, when we know that the reason is that at the present time no one can do anything with the land but graze sheep or cattle there. The honorable member for Moira has stated as one of his own experiences that he took his horses to Monaro, and they could not live on the grass there;’ that he had to stable-feed them. I can appeal to the honorable members for Grey and Capricornia, who drove from Cooma south for seventy miles, and returned by the same route for twenty miles, when they made a detour of fifty miles to get back to the station, to say whether in that journey they saw any country on which horses could not live. I need not say anything about the record which the Monaro district has for horses. The district is renowned for its horse-breeding establishments, and what object the honorable member for Moira could possibly have in making such an absurd statement I am at a loss to understand.
– I have stated hard facts.’
– The honorable member can have only one idea in his mind in making such a statement, and that is, to endeavour to persuade honorable members that the country around the Monaro district will not keep horses.
– It is too sour.
– The honorable member for Hume, who has pumped a lot of absurd statements into the honorable member for Moira, says that the country is too sour. I give the honorable member credit for honesty of purpose, but I can appeal against his opinion to honorable members who know as much about country as he does, and who have been through the Monaro district for. over 100 miles.
– I. know that we saw some line fat bullocks there.
– I appeal to the honorable member for Moira to say what object he could have in making such a statement as he has made.
– I have had to Live there; the honorable gentleman has not.
– I do not dispute the fact ; but I must question any - thing said by an honorable member who will make so absurd a statement as that to which I have referred. I have no hesitation in saying that there is no honorable member who has visited the Monaro district, no matter how much he may condemn the Monaro sites, or how anxious he may be to secure the selection of a site in another district, who will give any credit to a statement of that kind.
– No stock-owner on Riverina will take stock from Riverina to Monaro to thrive. That can be proved.
– All I can sav is that the honorable member is welcome to prove it if he can. The honorable member for Moira is usually very careful, but he destroys our confidence in him when he makes a statement of that kind. The honorable member for Grampians knows something about country, and although he has said some unkind things of the Monaro district because he does not like it. and because he favours the Upper Murray ‘site, he would never have asserted that horses would not live in the district.
– No stock-owner on Monaro would take stock off Riverina and put them on to Monaro to thrive.
– If that be so, how is it that during the last two years, when we had a drought, nearly all the stock from the Riverina side were brought to the Monaro district? I have figures here to bear that out, if the honorable member cares to see them.
– I did 300 miles through the district in a fortnight with a pair of horses that were fed on grass all the time.
– It is hardly worth while to answer such statements, but if honorable members will consider the statistics of stock in the Monaro district they will find that during the drought, men on Monaro made nearly the freehold prices of their land by renting it to people who brought starving stock from the Riverina country. Mr. McCaughey paid thousands of pounds in rent for Monaro country for his stock.
– For country just above Tumut.
– On which side of the mountain were the sheep ?
– Mostly on the western side. I saw his stock there, or, at any rate, thousands of them.
– That statement is like the honorable gentleman’s story about the unfortunate boy whom he found asleep beside a milk-can. We all know that there is some good country on the Tumut side ; but does the Prime Minister say that Mr. McCaughey’s stock was not chiefly on the Monaro side?
– I do.
– I am acquainted with most of the men in the Monaro district. I know the size of their runs, and in many cases the rentals which they received. I drove through Mr. McCaughey’s sheep, and I say that most of them were ir. that district. I was not in theTumut electorate at all. Many men on the Monaro country got nearly as much, and some of them quite as much, for taking starving stock from the plains during the eighteen months’ drought, as the freehold of their land could have been purchased for prior to that period.
– In many cases high rents were paid for land on which ordinarily people would not dare to place their sheep.
– When I tried to pin the honorable member for Moira down to his statement about horses, he began to speak of cattle and sheep ; and now the Prime Minister has come to his rescue by saying that a good many of Mr. McCaughey’s sheep were, during the drought, placed on the Tumut country. I do not dispute that. He had sheep all over the country.
– He had more sheep on the Tumut side than on the Monaro side.
– There were five times as many sheep on the Monaro side as on the Tumut side. It is not that the country is so much better, but that there is so much more of it.
– At Tooma he had five sheep to the acre.
– The honorable member for Gwydir spoke of there being fifteen sheep to the acre, so that the honorable member for Grampians has come clown ten. Perhaps if I commenced to whistle he would make a reasonable statement.
– What I say is true; and the sheep were brought away fat.
– I have seen 100 sheep to the acre ; but they were in a yard. If the honorable member can gull the honorable member for Maranoa, who has said that he will support the Monaro site, with that sort of garden stuff, his statements may do him some good ; but otherwise they cannot be expected to influence any one who knows a miner’s right from a homestead lease.
– I spoke from personal experience. There were 15,000 sheep on 3,000 acres. ‘
– The Prime Minister had a brother-in-law in the Monaro district, against whom I have nothing *o say, because he was a very good constituent, and voted for me every time ; but the honorable gentleman has stated that he is strongly opposed to the selection of the Monaro site, because of a fearful time which his brother-in-law had in a snowstorm.
– Is that where they have churches with chimneys?
– The honorable member must be mending his ways to know anything about churches at all. The Prime Minister has made a great deal’ of the statement of his brother-in-law that Monaro is a very cold place.
– At any rate, I have never mentioned it in this chamber.
– The honorable member has mentioned it privately to many.
– Incidentally, I told the honorable member about the occurrence.
– No doubt it is awkward to have these stories raked up again. I hope that the men of the Monaro district, and the men of the Moira district, will hear that the honorable member for Moira has stated that horses will not live on Monaro. Let honorable gentlemen listen to the following statement about Tumut, which appeared in a newspaper dated 3rd February : -
Earth tremors were felt here about i o’clock this morning, and some residents assert that they were the most distinct ever experienced. Houses were shaken violently, and apparently some portions of the town were affected more than others. The current travelled south- One distinctly audible shock, with vibrations and rumblings, lasted over a minute. It was elicited at the Observatory this afternoon that a slight shock had been felt at Adelong at 1.15 this morning. No other stations reported any disturbance.-
That paragraph is, in my opinion, a legitimate answer to the story told by .the brotherinlaw of the Prime Minister. The honorable member for Lang also spoke about the cold. He said that he had had a- very cold trip when passing through Nimitybelle one summer’s night.
– Yes, and I have also had a very cold drive through Nimitybelle during a summer’s night.
– Those are the sort of statements which I have to combat. The Prime Minister wishes it to be inferred that it is distressingly cold in the Monaro country in the middle of summer, and those who believe such extreme statements will, of course, hesitate before going there. I regret that the honorable gentleman should thus go back to his old practices. In many respects it has improved him to have more responsibility and less liberty ; but he should not, even as a joke, say that the climate of Monaro is so bad as to be distressingly cold at night in the middle of summer. Such absurd stories are an insult to the intelligence of honorable members. The honorable member for Macquarie also spoke about the cold of the Monaro district ; but let him listen to the following paragraph from a newspaper dated 9th June, 1.903 : -
ORANGE, Monday. - There was a heavy fall of snow this morning, the ground being covered to a depth of three inches. It was much heavier at the Canobolas. Light rain has been falling all day, with a cold westerly wind. There are no indications of the weather clearing, and another snow storm to-night is probable. All holiday sports had to be postponed.
Similar reports came from Blayney, Lithgow, and other places in the district, while the Observatory records show that, on the same day. the weather in Monaro was perfect. I do not seriously contend that therefore the Monaro climate is warmer than the Orange climate. I quote the statement to show the absurdity of some of the statements made by the honorable member. Thefollowing article, however, is one to which I think the Committee generally would do well to pay attention : -
It was in some measure unfortunate that the Australian Federation was not cradled in time of war or other great national stress. The easy and comfortable conditions under which the union came to birth - the only difficulty being the petty and undignified one. of soothing the squabbling jealousies of various provincialists - deprived the new nation of much that would have been valuable in forming a character. Australia begun federated life too’ much under hot-house conditions. The evil effects of this have shown themselves on various occasions, but never so conspicuously as in the discussion as to the location of the Federal Capital. From many sides comes a clamour against a “bush capital,” and plaintive arguments as to the “ discomfort “ and “ inconvenience “ to legislators if the Federal Parliament sits anywhere outside Melbourne or Sydney. In other quarters, whilst there is a grudging acquiescence to the proposal that the Legislature “should move away from the flesh-pots of the ‘great cities, there is an eager desire to veto any proposed site which has real or fancied hardships of climate or access. The time has come to remark to those gentlemen of the Federal Parliament who are desirous of staying in one of our great cities, and to those who are so querulously anxious that a site should be chosen with prompt access by Pullman car, and with a soft and complaisant climate, that the whole purpose of the Federation is not to provide comfortable hotel quarters for those who chance now to be its legislators. The Bulletin wishes to say this firmly, if a little reluctantly. This paper has never joined in that cheap and nasty adulteration of Radicalism which seeks the favour of the unthinking by belittling the representatives of the people and attacking their so-called “ fat salaries “ and “ enormous perquisites.” That is a Tory game to cripple the service of the public so that the public may be the more easily victimised. But, whilst Australia should give the best that it can to its Parliament and Ministers, concession must stop short of keeping back the development of the nation in the interests of the marble bath and the civilized cocktail of the Legislature. So soon as these things can be provided, consistently with the national interests, they should be ; the legislator is worthy of his bath and his cocktail. But if the nation needs it, the Legislature should be content with a bullockdray capital. It must be the nation’s interests first and those of the nation’s servants second.
It is ridiculous to hear, as one may hear, members of the Federal Parliament arguing that the Bombala site for the Capital - the only truly national site so far proposed - is impossible, because, for a while, members would have to travel some of the distance by coach, and because the climate there is sometimes cold. . This is an old woman’s attitude. These “dainty affetuosos” who would sacrifice a nation’s interests rather than submit to a little jolting or an occasional sharp blast of wind, show themselves in a wholly contemptible light. It is their misfortune, perhaps, rather than their fault, that such paltry ideas should infect their minds. The daily papers, with their draper souls, constantly preach paltriness and cowardice in national affairs, and there has been in Australia of late no stirring deed to rouse the mind from sluggishness. Federation was born in peddling times. The very Capital site location was made matter of degraded huckstering by George Reid. Eureka and the AntiTransportation movement are far remote from these days, and the spirit aroused by those great outbursts of national feeling has, to a great extent, faded away. Else it would be impossible for an Australian public man to balance against the arguments in favour of a truly national Federal Site his personal liability to catch a cold! in his nose.
Ignoring the cold-in-the-nose issue, the conditions which a locality must satisfy to make it truly - suitable for an Australian Capital may be briefly recapitulated as follows : -
The area must be the sole property of the Federation, and must be sufficiently large to secure for the Australian people all the increment in land values which the building of the Capital will give. An area of 100 square miles would be inadequate even for the building of a city ; and it would leave the larger share of land value increments to the private landlords outside the area. Greater Melbourne has an area of 250 square miles, and that area by no means embraces all the land which has largely increased in value by . the mere building of the city. If an area of 100 square miles, dedicated for a Federal city, were an exact square, and the city were built in its exact middle, it would only be a distance of five miles from the Federal G.P.O. to some private landlord’s area.’ If, as it is more reasonable tesuppose, this exact mathematical regularity were not obtainable, it might be only half-a-mile from the Federal city to the outside area where the private landlord annexed the profits.
The area must be of such a character as to permit of a real city arising, with good agricultural lands contiguous, with room and facilities for factories and arsenals. Either an easy coal supply or water power must be available.
A bracing and sturdy climate is desirable. The Federal area should be a nursery for the Federal soldiers and sailors and public servants.
A Federal port is absolutely essential. The present humiliating tribute agreement with Britain cannot be endured for ever. In time the Commonwealth must have its own navy ; it will then want its own dockyards and harbor. Further, the Federal Capital should not be surrounded on all sides by the area of any one State, and be dependent solely on that State for its means of communication.
Of the various sites under consideration there is only one that meets all these requirements - the Eden-Bombala area. In view of the necessity for economy - the Commonwealth cannot very well buy up Newcastle and the Hunter River valley - it is probably the only site available in the whole Commonwealth. And it answers to the natural needs in a fashion almost absolutely complete. An area can be secured stretching from an excellent harbor on the coast towards fine, bracing highlands, where might be bred men who could beat Maorilanders at football or steal cattle from a Highlander of the 16th century. Railway communication with the great State capitals can be effected without any enormous difficulty. There is. a splendid water supply - the only really genuine hall-marked, never-failing Australian river, the Snowy, passes through the land, and water for every requirement, from the. generation of electrical power for running factory machinery to the dilution of the politician’s whisky, is available. It is fitted, by reason of its cheap water power, to be the greatest and most economical manufacturing site in Australia - water is even cheaper than coal. A harbor suitable for the naval and trade necessities of a Federal Capital is in existence. There need be no cramping of the area resumed, as 5,000 square miles, of mostly Crown lands, can be obtained. On the Eden-Bombala site, in short, the Federation may found a city and a State which will serve every national purpose, and wield a great influence in breaking down those provincial jealousies which are the chief obstacles to the progress of the Union.
Then the Bulletin appeals to the Labour Party as follows : -
The Bulletin in particular appeals to the Labour Party to stand to the national and patriotic attitude on this great issue. That party has, so far, shown itself the most consistently Federal and Australian of the three organizations in the Parliament ; it would be a fitting crown to its work in the first Australian Legislature if it were to stand unitedly for the national, as opposed to the provincial, or the personally selfish, view in the selection of the national capital.
These statements were published in the Bulletin of 1 st October, 1903, and I think that they afford honorable members plenty of food for reflection. They indicate what we require.
– The article reads like a circus poster.
– It is absurd.
– The honorable member for Wentworth and the honorable member for Dalley may think that this is a subject for joking; but I regard it as very serious. I do not suppose that the honorable member for Wentworth will be prepared to go back to his constituents and tell them that the national platform laid down by the Bulletin is an absurd one.
– Who wrote the article - some authority ?
– The statements I have read are contained in a leading article published in the Bulletin, and I clare say the writer is as good an authority” as is the honorable member for Wentworth, with all his cocksureness and his great political experience. No matter who the writer may be, he has presented hard facts, which cannot be gainsaid. Now, I desire to deal with the claims of some of the other sites, which have been put forward. The honorable member for Macquarie does not care about the Bulletin statement, but I would ask him to follow me whilst I refer to Mr. Pridham’s report. The honorable member has asserted that Mr. Wade’s report, upon which he relied, was based on Mr. Pridham’s figures. I have just as high an opinion of Mr: Wade as has the honorable member for Macquarie, but I took exception to his being called upon to give evidence as a special advocate of a particular site, unless we also obtained the tes timony of Mr. Pridham and other officers of high standing. Now I shall refer to some of the figures contained in Mr. Pridham’s report, which was presented to this House in May, 1904. The right honorable member for Swan in his report says -
None of the creeks I saw were running when I visited Lyndhurst on 5th April. The Belubla River was dry at Carcoar, the Mandurama, the Grubbenbong, and the Coombing Creeks were also all dry. It must, therefore, be clearly understood that should the Capital be established at Lyndhurst, the water supply must be obtained by conservation, and not from perennial streams. The principal water-course - the Belubla River - is not perennial, and runs through an inhabited country, including the towns of Blayney and Carcoar. It is, therefore, under existing conditions, out of the question for a pure water supply. The proposals to obtain from conservation by placing dams across four separate water-courses, viz., Coombing Creek, Flyer’s Creek, Cadiangullong Creek, and Brown’s Creek, sufficient water for a population of 89,000, and when the population increases beyond that number to pump water twenty-two miles from a large storage reservoir in the Lachlan River, does not seem to mark out this site, so far as water supply is concerned, as one amply favoured by nature for the Seat of Government of Australia. The enormous cost of this water supply (vide Mr. Pridham’s report, herewith, marked Appendix B), namely,. £2, 728,030, is, in my opinion, a serious handicap to this site.
We gather from this that an outlay of nearly £3,000,000 would be involved in providing an adequate water supply at Lyndhurst, and it remains for the honorable member for Macquarie to show us that such an expenditure would be justified. The right honorable member for Swan says further -
As there is no perennial stream near Lyndhurst, there is no reasonable possibility of generating electricity to any larg”e extent by water power. Mr. Pridham’s report, herewith, Appendix B, paragraph 5, shows that no adequate power would be forthcoming from the Lachlan River; this factor may, therefore, be considered as practically non-existent.
There is the statement of Mr. Pridham, together with the cold analysis of the right honorable member for Swan, which speaks for itself. I ask why an endeavour should now be made to ram down our throats a supplementary report by Mr. Wade? Mr. Pridham is a tried and trusted official, who is supposed to be the best authority on water-power in the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Macquarie knows that there are no running streams in the Lyndhurst district, and that the statement recently made by the honorable member for - Maranoa in regard to the inadequacy ‘ of the water supply there was perfectly correct. We have had glowing descriptions of the possibilities of conserving water at such places as Orange,
Albury, Bathurst, and Goulburn. The New South Wales Government provided the money for carrying out some of these schemes, and yet during the dry summer of eighteen months ago the inhabitants of the town of Orange were placed upon a half supply, whilst at Bathurst they were driving tunnels, with a view to Obtaining additional supplies of water.
– They have been doing that for years.
– The water is highly mineralized.
– Exactly. The honorable member for Macquarie has stated that there is copper to be found all over the district. It is for him to explain how the difficulties which now present themselves are to be overcome. To my mind it is unfair to cast an aspersion upon Mr. Pridham. He tells us that the cost of providing an adequate water supply at Lyndhurst would be over £2,000,000.
– Read his full statement.
– I have not his full report before me.
– It does not suit the honorable member’s purpose to read it.
– Order ! I would point out that standing order 280 expressly forbids interruptions, and also lays it down that every honorable member addressing the Chair has a right to make his speech in his own way.
– I admit that I have infringed the rules of the House, and I am very sorry for having done so. At the same time I should like to point out that when I was speaking the honorable member did not hesitate to ask me a number of questions, which I answered in the most civil way.
- Mr. Pridham gives the following details in reference to supplying Lyndhurst with water for a further population of 90,000 by pumping by steam from the Lachlan : - Estimated cost of works (one-tenth cost of dam, pipe line, pumping, machinery, &c), £581,200; estimated annual cost of pumping 9,000,000 gallons per day, 1,600 feet, at 3d. per I,000 gallons, too feet high, £65,696, which, capitalized at 4 per cent., means £1,642,400; maintenance of main, capitalized at 4 per cent., £9,250; total, £2,232,850.
– That result is obtained by capitalizing the working expenses.
– Exactly. Water will not run up hill a distance of 100 feet. If we selected the Lyndhurst site it would be absolutely necessary to make provision for a pumping scheme, unless we were prepared to depend upon a system of driving and tunnelling for water. The honorable member for Macquarie has cleverly endeavoured to delude honorable members. Personally, I am content to let them decide this matter for themselves. The honorable member has stated that at Lyndhurst a supply of 135,000,000 gallons per day could be utilized for purposes of irrigation. I really think that the honorable member has made a mistake.
– They are not my figures, but those of Mr. Wade.
- Mr. Wade has just returned from America, where he has been reporting upon the Mississippi, and I think that the honorable member for Macquarie has mixed up the two reports. Is it not absurd for the honorable member to contend that while Orange, which contains a population of a couple of thousand, had to be put upon half supply last summer, Lyndhurst could be provided with 135,000,000 gallons per day? .
– Of what river is the honorable member talking?
– There is no river there. In the first instance the honorable member relied upon the Macquarie River, but when all the punts there got stuck up he fell back upon the Lachlan. I look upon his statements as absurd. He cannot explain away1 Mr. Pridham’s figures. This is not an Age story, but Mr. Pridham’s story. I think that upon this matter the Committee will prefer to accept the opinions of disinterested men who have no axe to grind, rather than the assertions of the honorable member. To make statements which they could not prove, would be worth more than their reputations. That is why I was anxious that Mr. Wade should be heard at the bar of the House. There is no running stream at Lyndhurst, and there is no chance of obtaining an efficient water supply there. To attempt to make honorable members believe that water would be cheap at so much per gallon is utterly ridiculous. Any such argument must necessarily be based upon the assumption that all the water which falls during a great storm can be conserved and sold. In conclusion, I wish to say that I am content to allow the Eden-Monaro site to stand for itself. That district has held its own unaided by the daily press. With the exception of the Adelaide Advertiser, and the Launceston Telegraph, which supports the selection of a national site at Bombala, it has received no assistance from the daily newspapers. It is true that it has had the powerful support of the Sydney Bulletin.
– In the early days it had the support of the Sydnev Morning Herald.
– That is so, but that organ has since withdrawn its support. No doubt the advocacy of its claims by the Bulletin has been of great assistance to it. No matter how impartial we may desire to be - no matter how careful we may be in making any statement in regard to a site which we favour - there can be no doubt that in regard to any site which is in his own electorate, or in close proximity to it, an honorable member is inclined to think what he hopes, and cannot be classed as free from prejudice. But the great majority of honorable members representing other States, and those possessing expert knowledge, are in favour of Monaro, and have supported it from the first What is the position taken up by the Senate? That is a States’ ‘rights House, and it seems to me that it is a good thing that we have such a Chamber. When listening to the debate on this question one would be inclined to imagine that there were only two States to be considered. Tasmania is rarely mentioned, unless one ofits representatives rises to protest that it should not be left out of consideration, and we hear very little about Queensland in the course of these acrimonious discussions. The whole question seems to be New South Wales versus Victoria.
– New South Wales against New South Wales.
– Many men would imagine from the ‘debate that there was no Golden Mile, no Coolgardie, no great State of Queensland, and no State of South Australia to be considered by us in making a selection, and, in these circumstances, it is well that we have a States House. One is prone to think that the members of another place should be more likely to be free from local prejudices than are honorable members of this House, who come into very much closer contact with those directly interested in the various sites, and the fact that the Senate has from the first supported the selection of the Monaro district should carry some weight. The great majority of honorable members representing other States also support that district, and, unlike the honorable member for Hume, the honorable member for Macquarie and myself, they cannot be accused of having an axe to grind. This should be an indication that the Monaro district has much to recommend its selection. Another point is that the majority of honorable members, who have inspected the various sites, are in favour of the Monaro district, although I have yet to learn that those who have made a personal inspection are better qualified to determine this question than are those who have not done so. An honorable member may say. “ I have seen such and such a site, and I think that it should be selected,” but, after all, many questions associated with the selection of a site can be dealt with only by experts. Experts must furnish us with information which they are specially qualified to give, and it is for the clever men in the House to dissect their reports, to analyze them, and to determine, on the information before them, which of the sites dealt with possesses, in the most marked degree, the main essentials for a Federal Capital. It is for this reason that I do not lay any special stress on the fact that the majority of those who have inspected the several sites suggested are in favour of the Monaro district. An important point in favour of the Monaro district is that it will be connected, sooner or later, with a main line of railway. No one would be so foolish as to suggest that the Prime Minister is in favour of the expenditure of an enormous sum in the establishment of a bush Capital. No one would accuse him of proposing to immediately spend millions on securing railway communication and an adequate water supply for the Capital ; but as the citv grows, various estimates of expenditure will be submitted to our consideration, and we shall gradually provide all that is necessary. Dalgety could be. connected with the railway system of New South Wales at a cost not exceeding £1.00,000. while Bombala could be connected with it at a cost of about £200,000 ; for many years, little or no expenditure would be necessary in order to secure a pure water supply. Men have secured a supply that would be sufficient for all requirements from the Snowy River, bv means of a miners’ race, their only capital being their pluck and their faith in the ground to which they have carried it. We have the evidence of the Chief Victorian Railway Commissioner ‘ that a line will have ‘ to be constructed from Bairnsdale viti Orbost for State purposes alone, and there can be no doubt that B.ombala will be connected byandby with Eden. If the Capital be established in this district, those who travel to it oversea, via Eden, will have a chance to enter it through the Federal gateway. That* is a very important factor. By means of a railway it will have its own gateway to the sea. We may pooh-pooh the suggestion at the present time that there is likely to be any trouble between the Commonwealth and the State, but any one who has given this question serious consideration must recognise that there is a possibility of friction, and that it is therefore desirable that the catchment area of our water supply should be within Federal territory, and that there should be an entrance to the Capital from two States. Monaro has its own water-shed, and its great expansibility is also a great factor in favour of its -selection. In the Monaro district we have a State in itself - a territory which has never been developed, but is capable of vast improvement. If we select this district, we shall hear the school-bells tingling where to-day the sheep bells ring, and with a railway bringing a market to our door, we shall have manyhappy families and homes, where to-day there are but a few boundary riders’ huts. That is a point which we have to consider. We must have a good climate, a reasonable water supply, and the opportunity for great development, so that as the city grows, and the people desire more room there will be ample scope for expansion With these essentials the Capital will become the centre of a great population and the home of a great people. We should select a site that will not be on the verge of inferior country. We do not wish to select a site merely because it is a beautiful spot that can never become anything more than a -glorified village. The climate of the Monaro district speaks for itself; the records of the temperature are open for inspection. It has been said that the cold is more intense in Monaro than in any other part of New South Wales ; but it has a bracing climate, cold frosts, days of sunshine, and nights of brilliance unknown in foggy regions with their forbidding desolate chills. There is no damp chilly atmosphere in Monaro, and we ought to hesitate before ye pass by such a district. I would point out that many honorable members visited it not in mid-summer when everything is beautiful, but during the coldest months of the year, when they could not see Monaro at its best. That fact should be borne in mind when we are dealing with this question. Should we not ask ourselves whether the Federal Capital is not likely to develop into a great sanitorium if a suitable site be selected ? Every visitor to Australia will journey to the Federal Capital to see what it is like, and if it possesses a bracing climate, and is surrounded, by beautiful scenery, magnificent caves, sparkling waterfalls, and snow-capped mountain ranges - if it be a district in which to spend a pleasant holiday - it is likely to attract a large population. It is extremely probable that the Parliament will meet in the summer months, so that honorable members will practically go for a change of air to the Federal Capital. Honorable members who are in good health are likely to do much better work in a district where the climate is good and the air is bracing than in one in which the atmosphere is as humid as is that of many of the big cities of Australia. The fact that the Monaro district has so fine a climate is an argument in favour, of its selection. Its scenery is magnificent. Some of the finest caves in Australia are to be found there; Kosciusko is in sight, the great Snowy River flows through the territory, and the snow-capped hills are to be seen in the distance. The allegation as to extreme weather on the Monaro may be answered in many ways. The other day I wrote asking for how many days the schools at Dalgety and Berridale had been closed on account of bad weather, because I regard that as a very good test of the climate. The reply I received shows that the school at Berridale, which is a little township near the Snowy River, between Dalgety and Cooma, had never been closed one day on this account. Dalgety is a small hamlet, to which children have to come, perhaps, five or six miles, and on wet days some no doubt are kept at home. If only two or three children attend, school may be closed ; but I find that during the past fourteen years this has happened only on two occasions. Similar facts may be related of Bombala, where, some honorable members assert, the climate is worse than in other parts of the Monaro. I think honorable members are satisfied that the Commission would not, without foundation, have reported on what they term the “ inexhaustible forests “ of ‘ the Monaro ; and there is not the slightest doubt that in the area may be found some of the finest timber in Australia. That report, coupled with the fact that there are three saw-mills at work at the present time, renders quite absurd the statement that there is no timber. No doubt there are rolling plains without timber, but so there are in Queensland and other States, and I have yet to learn that such country is avoided as worthless. We have to consider how products and merchandise can be conveyed to and from the Capital. I hope that the Federal city, especially when water power can be obtained, will become a great manufacturing centre, and, that being so, the cost of freight must be taken into account. Other things being equal, ought we to select a place like Lyndhurst, which would mean a tremendous train haulage over mountains, or a place like Tooma, which would mean railway carriage of 400 or 500 miles?. Or, should we select a place within fifty or sixty miles of a good port? Water carriage, as we all know, is cheaper than railway carriage everywhere.
– It would cost £1,656,263 to build a railway from Cooma to the port of Eden.
– At any rate, I simply put this suggestion forward as’ worthy of consideration. I am not endeavouring to ram my convictions down the throats of honorable members. I am. not making bald statements ; I am merely puting forward facts which mav have been overlooked. By spending millions, Lyndhurst could no doubt be provided with that water on. whicli I lay so much stress. In Western Australia, the dry, arid country around Kalgoorlie reminded me very much of Lyndhurst ; and yet the right honorable member for Swan, when Premier of that State, conveyed water over a distance greater than that between the Snowy River and the site which the honorable member for Macquarie advocates. Therefore, if Lyndhurst were selected, the matter of a water supply might be an objection, though not a fatal one. A water supply can be obtained from the Snowy River by the expenditure of millions, though such an expenditure cannot, of course, create good country, and it would be very difficult to justify the cost.
– Would the heights permit the flow?
– I hardly think the heights would ; at any rate, the expenditure of money would provide a water supply. The Eden-Monaro site would be close to our own sea-gate; and as to the statement that Twofold Bay would not make a good harbor, I should like to read the following quotations from Mr. Oliver’s report, to which I have previously referred : -
Dropping the part of critic with pleasure for a more congenial role, I may, perhaps, be permitted to point out that, without surrendering just claims to favorable consideration in respect of features such as climate, fertility of soil, and building materials, Southern Monaro holds an exceptional, and, indeed, an unique position in respect of -
A Federal harbor in Twofold Bay. This means access by sea for passengers and goods from all States of the Australian Union by the Commonwealth’s. own port. At a cost, now calculated by the Hydrographic Officer of the Public Works Department at£150,000, for a breakwater half-a-mile in length, and two jetties to cost £30,000 each, this harbor will be as secure an anchorage as Port Jackson. In the future it will be capable of being an effective naval base.
Federal railways from the port of Twofold Bay to the Capital, and from the Capital to Cooma. These would be Federally owned and worked, and thus all friction with State-owned railways would be avoided.
In the same report Mr. Halligan, New South Wales Government Hydrographer, writes as follows : -
In accordance with instructions received from the principal Engineer for Harbors and Rivers, in response to a request fromyou that an officer should be sent to Eden to report on various martens concerning the establishment of a Federal port at Twofold Bay, I beg to report having visited Eden on the 22nd ultimo, and returned to Sydney on the 4th inst.
During this time I made a careful examination of Twofold Bay and the surrounding district, to enable me to express opinion- 1st. As to the necessity for improving the existing harbor accommodation ; 2nd. The best position for a breakwater (if necessary) ; 3rd. The quality and amount of stone available for harbor works and town buildings, &c. ; 4th. The disposition, lengths, and sizes of wharfs, docks, &c. ; 5th. The best position of a town, having reregard to drainage, water supply, &c. ; 6th. The quality and amount of timber, clay, &c, available for buildings; and 7th. The best means of supplying the new town with water.
It is difficult to understand how the existing township of Eden came to be placed in its present position. Weecoon Bay, or Snug Cove, is shallow and small, and is not protected from the south-east gales, or the prevailing south and south-west winds ; the access to the wharf from the town is bad, and must remain so ; the majority of the houses in the town are exposed to every wind that blows, and the steepness of the ground makes the site about the worst that could be chosen for a town. The difficulty, if not the impossibility, of finding a suitable site for a railway station, is also a serious objection to the adoption of Eden as the site of a future town. A much more favorable site exists at the south east corner of the bay, known ‘as East Boyd. This part of Twofold Bay is sheltered from all but the north-east winds, which do not raise the same amount of sea as a southerly or south-east wind of equal strength, for reasons which it is not, perhaps, necessary to state here. My own observations go to prove that, with a light southeast swell coming into Twofold Bay, there was much less range at East Boyd than at the wharf at Eden, and the pilot and others informed me that this was the case in all weathers, except, of course, when a “ black north-easter “ was blowing.
On account of the sudden alteration in the trend of the coast at Gabo Island, the northwast winds which prevail on the coast of New South Wales during the summer months, are changed to S.S.E., south, and S.S.W. winds on the Victorian coast, and the small strip of coast between Gabo and Twofold Bay is a neutral zone, in which the north-east winds do not blow with the same regularity as they do further north. Still there are times when they attain considerable strength, and in order to afford protection from them, and to deflect the south-east swell, I propose to run a breakwater in the position shown by blue lines on the attached helio Its length need not exceed 2,640 feet mile), and at the outer end there is 9 fathoms of water. With a breakwater 15 feet wide on top, And 16 above high water, with inner slope i£ to i, and outer slope to i, the cost would be £150,000, and it would insure protection in all weathers over an area of ‘8 of a square mile with a depth of over 4. fathoms. This area could be increased, if necessary, by the construction of training walls, and by dredging, as shown by blue lines on helio, to 1 j square miles.
He goes on to show how this tremendous area might be increased. He deals with the timber supply for engineering purposes, and shows that there are great forests in the immediate vicinity. But I am dealing particularly with the bay, and with the benefits that must accrue to the Federal Capital if built in the proximity of a great harbor. Sooner or later these breakwaters must be constructed, and the harbor will be made perfectly safe. It must become a great naval base. Being situated half way between Melbourne and Sydney, it will have to be fortified at some time. Are there not great inducements for us to fix the Capital at a place like that? No doubt the construction of a railway would be costly. It might even amount to £8,000 or £10,000 a mile. But sooner or later that line will have to be built. We do not expect all these things to be done at once. It is idle to suppose that the whole of the cost of erecting the Federal Capital will be saddled upon the early years of Federation. I look at this matter from several stand-points. Naturally, as a New South Wales member, I pay great attention to it from the stand-point of the interest of that State. New South Wales is anxious to have the question settled. How can we best arrive at a settlement? The honorable member for Perth told the Committee that he intended to change his vote from Monaro to Tooma, because he knew that that would mean delay. Perhaps there will be some delay, but not much. We certainly want further information before we can think of choosing the Tooma site. The honorable member for Wentworth showed from the estimate from which he quoted that the railway to Tooma on the Victorian side alone would cost at least £500,000. On the New South Wales side there is a great distance to cover, and. it is doubtful whether it is practicable to connect the site with Sydney unless we come down to Germanton and make such a wide detour as would be absurd. We have to consider what inducement the Commonwealth has to offer to New South Wales to build that railway to the border. There is a feeling that a great injustice will be done to New South Wales if Tooma is selected. There will undoubtedly be great turmoil and trouble about it. There will also be great dissatisfaction if there is protracted delay. On the other hand, we know that Lyndhurst is not likely to be accepted by the Senate, which has an equal right with this House to express its opinion with regard- to the selection of the Capital. It certainly would be a very difficult matter, indeed, to induce the Senate to come round to that way of thinking. .But if we select the Monaro site, there will be no delay whatever. Beautiful as the Upper Murray site may be, and eligible as it may be, its selection is likely to cause not only months, but years, of delay. It will stir up all the old provincial feeling in New South Wales. We have had full information with regard to only three districts, those of Lyndhurst, Tumut, and Monaro. Of those three only two are now in the running. Tumut is dead, so far as this House is concerned. Of the two districts which are left, and about which we have full information, the Monaro is the only one the selection of which would lead to an immediate settlement of the question. I do not wish to delay the Committee longer. I thank honorable members for having listened to me so patiently. I do not very often take up their time, and the importance of the question must be my excuse for having occupied more time than I intended. I have not tried to decry other sites. I have simply pointed to hard facts. I have been asked by the honorable member for Hume which site I intend to vote for. I presume that he has asked that question to try to put me in an awkward corner with regard to my constituents. I have no hesitation in giving an answer. T do not admire the spirit that prompts the question, but I will reply frankly and honestly. I believe that Bombala is the best site, though it will cost more money to bring the Snowy River water there than to Dalgety by gravitation. But sufficient water can be brought from the Delegate River by going higher up for the offtake. I recognise that the best land is around Bombala. I am a great believer in territory. We want a. large territory. We cannot think of putting, the unearned increment into the pockets of a few private land-holders. I have told the land-holders in my electorate that they will not get a pound more than they are entitled to out of the Commonwealth Government if I can help it. If we were going into this matter as a private speculator, should we not take a large area so as to secure the unearned increment? Why should we not get some recompense for’ the money which we have to spend ? I have yet to learn that those who are in favour of the Commonwealth taking a small area have the support of the people of New South Wales. I am prepared to fight that battle in any electorate in the State. When the question is put to the people, “ Are you prepared to put the unearned increment into the pockets of the land-holders or into the coffers of the Commonwealth?” there can be but one answer. Consequently I have no fear as regards the proposal put forward by the present Government. I hope that whenever the selection is made, the Government will see that the area required is sufficient to enable us to recompense ourselves, and in time to get back more than the establishment of the Capital will cost - sufficient, in fact, to provide a source of considerable income to the Commonwealth. I have said that I believe Bombala to be the better of the two sites mentioned in the Monaro district. Although I hold that the selection of the actual site is a matter which must be left to experts, I am in favour generally of taking the territory defined by the Senate, with the exception that I think there is no necessity to go right into Pambula, and the rich country where the settlements are. They might be avoided by skirting the mountain range, and then striking down to the coast. We might also go a little further west to take in the full catchment area of the snow country, which is of very little value. If that were done, we should have a reasonable area of 5,000 or 6,000 square miles, on which there is very little settlement at the present time, which is of very little value to New South Wales, and from which that State is now obtaining very little revenue. Settlers are paying a few pounds a vear for areas of 20,000 acres in what is called the “ snow country,” which would be valuable as a part of the catchment area, if required for the Federal Capital. The real reason why there is so very little settlement in the district is the want of railway communication. I recently drove about thirty-five miles from Bombala to Bungarbay, and passed through two or three houses on big stations. They said to me that the town was quiet, and I replied that I wondered it was not dead. Until people are given an opportunity of getting access to these lands, we cannot expect to have settlement in the district.
– The Senate did not recommend that we should take over the whole of the area to which the honorable gentleman has referred.
– They have recommended that we should take over a great portion of it. I have carefully analyzed the votes likely to be recorded. I am satisfied that a majority of honorable members will vote for Dalgety rather than for Bombala. I think we should select the district, and leave the exact site for experts to decide; but I am prepared to bow to numbers. I am not prepared to prejudice the interests of my district because a majority of honorable members are not of my opinion. I still maintain, however, that we should take a fairly large territory, and allow experts to select the actual site of the Federal city after close investigation. ‘That is the only way in which we can arrive at a proper conclusion. Above all things I hope that we shall now arrive at some conclusion which will settle this question. Honorable members must give and take, and agree to compromise in this matter. If they cannot get their first choice, they must fall back upon their second. I repeat that I regret that we are about to take a vote in such a way that a district favoured by only a minority of honorable members may score a win. I would again urge, if it were possible, that Mr. Speaker and two other honorable members should be appointed to look carefully into some scheme which would result in the pitting of one district against another, so that the site favoured by an absolute majority might win. Strongly as I hold that the Monaro sites are the best, I have no desire to win by any unfair tactics, or unless there is a majority of the Federal Parliament in favour of one of those sites. I say that we should gravely consider the Bill as it has come down to us from another place, embodying practically the unanimous opinion of men who come not only from New South Wales or Victoria, but also from the great State of Queensland, from Tasmania, Western Australia, and South Australia, men who have no personal interest to serve, and who cannot be biased to the extent that honorable members of this Committee may be biased in thinking what they hope. I trust that we shall now select the site of the Federal city, and select it in the best place in Australia for the purpose. I hope that in a very short period of time we shall be enabled to get there, and that we shall start, as I understand the Government ‘ propose, in a very small way, so that the Parliament House, public buildings, parks, streets, roads, and water supply will grow gradually with the requirements and necessities of the place. Let us establish the city in a good spot, I say, in Southern Monaro, and if we do I am satisfied that future generations will recognise that we have decided upon the best spot in Australia for the purpose, and one of which we can always be proud.
-More in explanation than anything else, I desire to say a few words bearing upon the long speech just delivered by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, in which the honorable gentleman has scattered about a great many statements. The honorable gentleman has said that I made an attack upon the late Mr. Oliver. ‘ He told me beforehand, privately, that he intended to make those remarks, and I told him that such a statement was not true or fair, because what I said last night, in reference to the late Mr. Oliver, was but a repetition of what I said last session. All I said was that I regretted that Mr. Oliver had issued his second re- . port, which appeared to me to be a petulant criticism upon the report of the Commission.
– De mortuis nil nisi bonum
– It is not my intention to say anything ill, but I have no desire that what I have said should be wrongly interpreted. I also said I did not think that the late Mr. Oliver would have written the second report had he at the time enjoyed the robust health which I knew him to possess for the greater part of the time during which I was acquainted with him. The general comment at the time was that it was rather a scolding report. I thought that the late Mr. Oliver had been very unwise in writing it, and that is what I said last night. I made no attack upon that gentleman, whom I held in the highest respect. I should not have selected him to make the first investigation of the sites suggested for the Federal Capital if I had not had a very high opinion’ of him. In regard to the other statement made by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that I had accused the late Mr. Oliver of having made mistakes, what I said was that he had not gone to the heads of Departments to obtain the best officers to assist him. I said that he had taken certain officers who, I was told by the heads of the Departments, were not the best for the purpose, and in consequence of his not having secured the assistance of the best officers, recommendations were made to him which caused him to fall into error. I do not think that one word which I uttered can be construed into an attack upon the late Mr. Oliver, whom I knew for twentyfive years, and whom I held in the highest esteem until the day of his death. But in issuing his second report he made a mistake; I regretted it at the time. I said so last night, and I say so again now. There can be no doubt whatever that, so far as his lights went, and on the information placed before him, the first report submitted by the late Mr. Oliver was a very able document. I wish now merely to deny the accusation that I made any attack upon him, as I should not think of doing anything of the kind.
Mr. KENNEDY (Moira).- I have one remark to make with reference to the criticism- passed by the honorable member for, Eden-Monaro upon my speech. The first statement was that the country in and around Dalgety was forest country. In the course of my remarks I quoted from the Commissioners’ report, which, 1 said, confirmed my own observation - which confirmed my personal observation of twenty years ago. I will repeat the quotation which I made from the Commissioners’ report in regard to the situation of the Dalgety site -
The greater part of the area consists of undulating treeless country, of similar character to much of the Monaro plains. . . . The appearance of the site, which, even on the river banks, is almost entirely destitute of timber, does not suggest the idea that parks and gardens will nourish.
With regard to the productiveness of the soil, I would again quote the Commissioners -
Some witnesses thought .that the district within a radius of fifty miles of the site could produce all the foodstuffs necessary for a city of 50,000 inhabitants, but others were of opinion that a wider area would have to be drawn on, at least during the winter months, in which view we are disposed to concur.
Those passages of the report bear out the conviction which I hold as the result of personal knowledge of this granite country. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro said that my statement that horses have to be hand-fed there is absurd; but I repeat it as absolutely true in every particular. No sane stockholder in Monaro to-day would buy stock bred in the Riverina district, and attempt to keep it in the Monaro country all through the year. It is true that stock, and particularly young stock, are, in summer time, taken from the Riverina district and western New South .Wales to the hill country ; but no sane man in the Monaro country would buy Riverina stock to fatten there.
– No Riverina man would leave his stock on the Monaro country all the year round.
– No. I also stated that, in November, I took horses bred in Riverina to the Monaro country, and that, in order- to keep them in condition, I had to hand-feed them. I believe that that would be the experience of any man taking horses from Riverina to Monaro at any time of the year, except in the middle of summer, which means practically in the months of January and February.
– Where was the animal bred upon which “ the man from Snowy River “ rode ?
– It is too late to go into that question now, but I think that I am justified in showing that my statements, which have been challenged, relate what are purely hard facts.
– Do not the sheep get footrot up there?
– No. So far as I am aware, there is very little foot-rot in that country.
– I understand that there arc still several honorable members who wish to speak, and I have also something to say upon this very important question, so that I think that the Minister of Home Affairs would do well to grant an adjournment.
– I support the honorable member’s request for an adjournment. I know that he is prepared with ‘ a lot of valuable information which will be of interest to honorable members, and will show that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro must have taken up, the wrong report when he submitted certain figures to this Committee. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, however, had the manliness to say for which site he will vote, whereas the honorable member for Hume seeks to induce other honorable members to vote for the southern district, and when they have done so they will find that he has simply used them to obtain support, not for the Tooma site, but for the site to which he previously owed allegiance. The Committee will also receive some information regarding some interesting speeches made by him on former occasions when this matter was under discussion. I shall not detain honorable members further than is necessary to show that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro misled the Committee by stating that the capital cost of the additional water supply at Lyndhurst would be about £2, 000,000.
– He said that if the working expenses were capitalized it would amount to that.
– He made that explanation only after his first statement was questioned. I have shown that Mr. Wade’s figures are practically the same as those of Mr. Pridham. To supply 50,000 people, the Lyndhurst gravitation scheme would cost about ^427,000, and the Bombala pumping scheme £6 17, 000. The capital cost of the scheme reported on by Mr. Wade is only about ,£600,000, instead of ,£2,000,000, as the honorable member for Eden-Monaro stated. It must be remembered that the people to whom the water is supplied will pay for it, just as the inhabitants of Sydney and Melbourne, pay for their water. If a man were thinking of going into a business the working expenses of which were£1 0,000 a year, while the return was expected to be £20,000 a year, he would not capitalize the former in order to ascertain what the speculation would cost him. I shall not detain the Committee any further, but shall leave the honorable member for Canobolas to deal with the honorable member for Eden-Monaro.
– The honorable member for EdenMonaro, in his eloquent advocacy of the site which he favours, has passed strictures on a number of honorable members, and has referred to the few remarks which I made with regard to Twofold Bay as quite absurd and extravagant. My contention was that Twofold Bay is not a port in the sense in which the honorable member refers to it. The soundings on the chart show clearly that there is only a narrow’ channel through the Bay, and that an enormous expenditure would be required to make anything like a port. Threequarters of . a century ago a well-known man, named Ben Boyd, wrecked the whole of his fortune and those of many of his friends in his efforts to make Twofold Bay a rival to Sydney. All his efforts resulted in lamentable failure. When’ I recently paid a visit to Twofold Bay I made a sporting offer for a billiard table which had been set up by Ben Boyd in the expectation that Twofold. Bay would become an important shipping centre. It can however, never be anything of the kind. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has pinned his faith to Dalgety, and he was not called upon to go’ out of his way to make statements with regard to Bombala, which cannot bc substantiated. It is an effort to get the credit of his- opinion respecting Bombala and the credit of his vote for Dalgety.
– Twofold Bay is how called “ Boyd’s folly.”
– Exactly. It is a historic fact that Twofold Bay stands condemned as a . port, and that nothing could be made of it except by the expenditure of a very much larger sum than the Commonwealth will ever be prepared to devote to such an undertaking.
– I would direct the attention of honorable members to the fact that we have been debating the Federal Capital sites for five days, and that we have been occupied for thirty hours in the present discussion. Whilst the Government desire to give every opportunity for full and free discussion, we must bring the session to a close at some time or other, and it will be necessary to conclude the debate before our labours for the session are ended. I would, therefore, ask honorable members to assist the Government in closing the debate if possible to-morrow. If we can do this, it will not be necessary to ask honorable members to attend on Friday, and then we could take a vote without further discussion on Tuesday next. I would ask honorable members to assist the Government in keeping a House to-morrow in order to bring the discussion to an end.
House adjourned at 11. 16 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 August 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040803_reps_2_21/>.