9th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Senator NEEDHAM brought up the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts upon the expenditure on oil exploration, development, refining, &c., in the Commonwealth and Papua, being Part I., comprising the introduction, the committee’s proceedings, oil exploration work in Papua, and oil exploration work in Australia.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : - 1, 2, 3, 4. This information is not compiled, and considerable work and expense would be involved in collating the particulars.
– Can I convey to the public the information which the Minister offers to convey to me?
Motion (by Senator Duncan) agreed to-
That leave of absence for three months be granted to Senator Drake-Brockman, on the ground of urgent public business.
Bill read a third time.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) -
That this bill be now read a third time put. TheSenate divided.
Ayes . . 16
Majority . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
.- I move-
That this bill be now read a second time.
The objects of the bill are - firstly, to provide for the establishment of the Australian War Memorial; secondly, to constitute a body with permanent and legal status to assist and advise the Minister in connexion with the establishment of the memorial; and, thirdly, to vest in and placeunder the control of this body certain funds pledged to memorial purposes at present temporarily in the custody of the Treasury. Honorable senators will recall that, on the 22nd of August, 1923, I stated that the government regarded the Australian War Museum as the Australian National War Memorial, and proposed to establish it in a suitable building at Canberra. To this, no objection has been raised. Since then, a site on the slopes of Mount Ainslie has been allotted for the memorial, and a competition for designs for the building was launched on the 12th inst.The memorial will consist of the records and relics of the Australian Imperial Force, the Royal Australian Navy, and other Australian Forces - the magnificent collection of which has been compiled and created by those Forces themselves. The chief feature of the building in which the collection will be permanently housed will be the Hall of Memory, on the walls of which will be inscribed the names of all Australians who died through the war, and these will be listed beneath the names of the towns or districts from which they came. The object is that, not only shall our descendants during all time be able to come to this memorial and read the names of those men of their own district who died through the war, but that, standing in that silent hall, surrounded by the names of those who fell and a few of their most precious relics, visitors may, for all time, be impressed with the sense that they are standing in the actual presence of the dead, and realize their larger responsibilities to their memory. Since July, 1919, in the management of the collections and preparatory measures for the establishment of the memorial, I have had the advice and assistance of the Australian War Museum Committee, of which I am chairman. That committee consists of the following: - Minister for Home and Territories, Minister for Defence, Rear-Admiral P. H. Hall Thompson, C.B., C.M.G., Lieu tenant-General Sir H. G. Chauvel, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., Major-General Sir C. B. B. White, K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., C.B., D.S.O., Major-General Sir T. W. Glasgow,
K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., Mr. Justice Ferguson, Major the Hon. C. W. C. Marr. D.S.O., M.C., M.P., C.E., W. Bean, Esq., and H. S. Gullett, Esq. It is now considered advisable, for administrative reasons, to constitute for this purpose a body with permanent and legal status, to be known as the Board of Management.. Appointment to the board will carry no remuneration. The powers and functions of the board are prescribed in the bill. It will be observed that, exclusive of the control of a special fund, to which reference will be made later, the actions of the board will be subject to the Minister’s approval and directions. The special fund which it is proposed to place under the control of the board consists of moneys received by. the Australian War Museum Committee on condition that they would be used for special memorial purposes. They total, approximately, £18,500, and comprise donations from Australian Imperial Force organizations and individuals, and the net proceeds from the sale of war photographs, and screening of war films, and from similar activities. They do not include any moneys appropriated by Parliament. The Government is advised that the vesting of these moneys in a body such as the proposed board is essential if the conditions on which they were received are to be fulfilled. All books and accounts will be kept in accordance with the Audit Act 1901-1924 and regulations under that act, and will be sub ject to audit by the Auditor-General, who will report to the Minister. Future sources of revenue to the fund will be similar to those in the past. Provision has been made for the receipt of donations and bequests, as the object of the memorial and the uses to which the fund will be put will doubtless appeal to Australians interested in perpetuating the memory of the Australian Forces, and who may, therefore, be glad of an opportunity to assist financially.
Now let me give some of the facts which justify the recognition of the War Museum as the National War Memorial. The Government, in making the appeal to Australian and allied governments for exhibits, when it was decided to establish a War Museum, accepted the responsibility of providing for the preservation in a suitable building of the exhibits donated in response to that appeal, which are of great intrinsic value and, sentimentally and historically, priceless. No one who has seen the collections can have failed to realize how certain it is that the building in which they are housed will become the War Memorial. No pile of sculpture or other artificial monumentcan ever rival this assemblage of relics and records, which must remind all Australians of a great national effort in the defence of the Empire and civilization. As a memorial it will be unique. There are other war museums, but none, so far as is known, has been recognized as the National War Memorial of the country in which it exists. It may be added, that, in the opinion of competent judges, none has the interest and value of the Australian collection. The splendid response by the Australian forces to the appeal for exhibits for the War Museum was due almost entirely to the emphasis placed by the responsible authorities on the memorial nature of the collections. The men gladly gave their most precious relics in order that the achievements of their units might be immortalized ina national institution. Many exhibits were presented in the names of the fallen by comrades or relatives, in order that the memory of these names might be perpetuated in the museum. The value that the people of Australia place upon these relics of their country’s war effort is indicated by the facts which I shall now give. While 3,497 towns throughout Australia accepted the relics offered to them, and undertook to arrange for their permanent preservation, only 79 refused, and of these refusals 46 were on the grounds that there was no suitable public place in which they might be preserved. The Australian War Museum was open to the public in Melbourne for two years and nine months. During that time the attendances registered at the turnstiles were 780,000. The War Museum has been open in Sydney since the 3rd April, 1925. Up to the 3rd Augustthe attendances totalled 377,675. These attendances are treble those in Melbourne for the corresponding period. I think that that fact alone is a wonderful tribute to the interest that the people of Australia are taking in this memorial. I know that some honorable senators have had an opportunity of seeing the collection, and I am sure that they will agree that there is nothing in Australia to parallel it. Visitors - not Australians, but visitors to Australia - who have inspected similar collections in other countries have assured us that they have seen nowhere else a collection equal to it in historical interest. The site which has been chosen faces the front of the provisional Parliament House, and from Parliament House to the side of Mount Ainslie there is a prospect which will be practically free from buildings for all time. The outlook from Parliament House will be upon country timbered on every side with Australian and other trees. The War Memorial will be situated on a mound having for its background Mount Ainslie with its wooded slopes, which are permanent reserves and, therefore, can never be built upon. These two buildings will very properly face each other, and we hope that they will be two of the monumental edifices of the capital city. We trust that in the competition which has been initiated among Australians, we shall receive worthy designs for this worthy object, so that when this wonderful collection comes to be removed to Canberra it will be suitably housed in a building worthy of the collection, and of the tradition and memories that it will for all time enshrine. I feel sure, Mr. President, that the bill will receive the hearty” commendation of all honorable senators, and I now submit it for their approval.
Debate (on motion by Senator Needham) adjourned.
.- I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
This is a machinery measure to provide for the ratification of an agreement entered into some years ago between the Government of New South Wales and the Government of the Commonwealth by which the lands known as Cockatoo Island and Schnapper Island were acquired from the state as transferred properties, and portion of Goat Island, which was Commonwealth property, was relinquished to the state. The bill merely provides for the legalization by Parliament of the agreement. The terms of the acquisition will be of very little interest now because the properties were acquired as far back as 1913. Owing to the war and the various matters that arose out of it, no steps were taken at that time to obtain parliamentary approval of the transfer. Moreover, the question of what should be embodied in the agreement was not settled for a considerable time. There was some difference of opinion between the Commonwealth and State Governments as to which part of Goat Island should be handed over to the state. The question arose whether or not the Commonwealth Government would need to retain the whole of Goat Island for magazine purposes. It was only about a year ago that th e matter was completed, and the agreement drawn up, and this is the first opportunity that the present Government has had to ask Parliament to ratify it. I have details before me as to the terms of the agreement, and the price paid by the Commonwealth for Cockatoo and Schnapper Islands; but as it is ancient history, and the price has long been paid, I do not intend to weary honorable senators by reading the details unless they wish me to do so.
– Would it not be well to have them on record?
– It may be. Cockatoo Island and Schnapper Island; with a certain area covering the waters adjacent thereto, were acquired for the purpose of establishing a naval depot and dockyard. The land transferred is to be considered as transferred property under section 85 (1) of the Constitution. The Commonwealth Government entered into possession on the 1st February, 1913. The price agreed upon was £867,716 9s. Interest on the above amount (considered as transferred property) has been paid as from the 1st February, 1913. The sum of £66,085 15s.11d., representing expenditure by the state prior to the 31st January, 1913, was paid to the state in cash. The Commonwealth vacated that portion of Goat Island used as a magazine store on the13th June, 1913, and the agreement with regard to the above matters was executed on the 26th October, 1915. A supplementary agreement was completed on the 12th September, 1924. The Commonwealth was in occupation of an area comprising 3 acres 33 perches on Goat Island, and it was agreed to consider and deal with this area as a transferred property. The Commonwealth was using it as a small arms ammunition magazine. The state was exceedingly anxious to have the magazine removed, and desired the use of the whole island. Therefore, the Commonwealth undertook to transfer the magazine and hand over the island as soon as possible after termination of the war as part of the arrangement in connexion with the transfer of Cockatoo and Schnapper Islands. The transfer was delayed due to difficulty in establishing a suitable magazine elsewhere, and the removal of the explosives. This- was completed, and that portion of Goat Island occupied by the Commonwealth was formally handed over on the 13th June, 1923.
Debate (on motion by Senator Needham) adjourned.
– I desire to inform the Senate that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral has appointed the hour of 3.30 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon next as a suitable hour at which to receive the Address-in-Reply.
– In view of the announcement made by the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce), I desire to inform honorable senators that a few minutes after the Senate meets on Wednesday next, I propose to suspend the sitting and proceed to Government House, there to present to His Excellency the Address-in-Reply, and I hope that as many honorable senators as can make it convenient to do so will accompany me.
.- I move-
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Since the Minister for Markets and Migration (Senator Wilson), who has charge of the next business on the notice-paper, is not present, and I understand that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Needham) does not wish to proceed to-day with the discussion on the budgetpapers, I have submitted the motion for the adjournment.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.30 a.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 August 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1925/19250821_senate_9_111/>.