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Wednesday, 23 November 1938

The committee also mentioned the need for the following works in New Guinea, but as they are not directly concerned with the removal from Rabaul they were not taken into account by the committee in estimating the cost of the transfer of the administrative head-quarters: -

1.   The development of Salamaua as the port of the administrative head-quarters and as the chief port of the territory (no estimate of cost given).

2.   Road from the coast to the gold-fields (thecost of this work has since been estimated at £150,000).

The Government found these recommendations unacceptable, and, after a visit to the territory by the then Minister in charge of Territories (Mr. Hughes) it was decided that Salamaua should be both the chief port and the capital of the territory, and that a road should be constructed from Salamaua- to Wau. It was arranged that a loan of £150,000 should be raised by the Administrator of the territory and that the interest on the loan and the redemption thereof should be met by a toll to be levied on users of the road.

The Commonwealth Government agreed to guarantee the loan and the New Guinea Loan Guarantee Act 1938 was passed by Parliament in July last for the purpose. Since then, surveys of possible routes have been made and at present the engineers of the New Guinea Administration are checking the survey of a direct route of an estimated length of 47f miles between the two places.

Detailed examination of the Salamaua area by the Administrator and his technical officers raised doubts as to whether sufficient- land for the whole of the administrative head-quarters could be obtained there without very extensive works. The Government, therefore, decided to review the whole matter and, in the meantime, to give effect to the recommendation by the vulcanologist Dr. Stehn, for a system of warnings to be established at Rabaul in the form of a well-organized and equipped vulcanological observatory.

Mr Curtin - Where is the observatory to be located?

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