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Wednesday, 10 August 1921

Senator GARDINER - It is being carried on at Alexandra.

Senator DE LARGIE - A considerable quantity of wax candles was manufactured in New South Wales. That was when the Joadja shale-mining field was a name to conjure' with, the wax candles being' manufactured from the by-products of that industry.

Senator Crawford - Do you say that the industry is still being carried on?

Senator DE LARGIE - Not at Joadja, but at other places in New South Wales. .

Senator Lynch - What is the trade name of the wax?

Senator DE LARGIE - I cannot say. It is sufficient, I think, for me to inform the Senate that paraffine wax was then made from the crude oil, and that there is a hoorn now in connexion with shale oil mining in Australia. A large number of new areas have been taken up in New South Wales, and also in Tasmania.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does not the honorable senator know that the great Commonwealth Oil Company has recently gone into liquidation?

Senator DE LARGIE - I know all about what has happened to that corporation. That happened a good many years ago. If Senator Pratten desires to inquire into the industry, he must go back some twenty-five years in the history, of New South Wales, when . the Reid Administration removed the duty on kerosene oil at a time when shale oil production was being carried on in the Blue Mountains and also at Joadja. The removal of the duty closed the industry, and led to Joadja, which was then one of the bestbuilt and prosperous towns in New South Wales becoming in the course of a few years a deserted village. No greater monument to the folly of the policy of Free Trade is to be found than that which presents itself to . the visitor to Joadja Creek. There* one can see to-day the remains of what were at one time solid sandstone public buildings, workshops, and dwelling-houses. The roofs have disappeared, and nothing but the bare walls remain. I visited the township not many months ago, and saw the remnants of what was once a magnificent plant and the .walls of the factory where wax candles were made. But there is a revival in the shale oil industry of New South Wales, and' the Joadja Creek area and much of the surrounding country has again been taken up. I need not remind Senator Payne of the shale mining that is going on at Latrobe and elsewhere in Tasmania. There : is every prospect of wax from paraffine being produced here in the near future, and, that being so, I think we should allow the duty to stand. Kerosene is becoming increasingly expensive, and it is a commodity that we must have. So many engines are now being driven by oil that steam engines are rapidly becoming obsolete. If the shale-oil in dustry in Australia is to be remunerative we must encourage its by-products.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In order that we may produce wax candles, the duty on wax must be reduced or the duty on such candles increased.

Senator DE LARGIE - If we are going to reduce the duty on the raw material of the wax candle makers, we must offer those engaging in the principal industry some other incentive.

Senator Payne - What guarantee can the honorable senator give us that Australia is going to produce paraffine wax?

Senator DE LARGIE - No industry has better prospects than that we are now discussing. In Tasmania alone there ave immense deposits of shale, and from that shale paraffine scale can be produced. From the scale in turn, the wax is obtained, and is converted into candles. It has been said during this debate that some honorable senators are prepared to give a preference to imports from Great Britain only where it is unlikely to be of any benefit. The imposition of a preferential duty on imports from Great Britain in this case will be of advantage to the Old Country. The Scottish shale mines produce 'a very good class of wax, and I should be surprised to learn that it was not imported into Australia.

Senator Duncan - It is imported.

Senator DE LARGIE - I would expect it to be. There is every prospect of our producing paraffine wax in the near future, and the industry is most deserving of protection. There is no reason why this once flourishing industry should not be revived. Far more wax is derived from paraffine than from kerosene. The United States of America, for instance, produces very little . paraffine wax. Paraffine contains a very large percentage of wax, but the percentage found in kerosene"" is very low, and, in some cases, no wax whatever is obtained from it. Here is a native industry that we should foster, and I hope we shall endeavour to do so by retaining the duty as it stands.

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