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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr BAMFORD (Herbert) .- In subdivision 3, provision is made for the extension of the General Post Office, Brisbane, and for the erection of new post-offices at Atherton, Cairns, and Irvinebank. But, although I have on several occasions approached the authorities of the Postal Department with, a view to getting a new post-office at Chillagoe, the only reply I have received has been that the matter will be inquired into, and I shall be informed later on, and now no provision is being made on these Estimates for a post-office at that place. I visited Chillagoe not long since, and, making a plan of the building in which the post and telegraph business of that town is transacted, sent it to the Department. The building originally consisted of two rooms and a verandah, but there are now five rooms, the verandah running round four sides. Of .these rooms, one is used as the post-office, a second as the parcels .00m, the third is the telegraph office, and the postmaster, his wife, and four children share the remaining two as parlour, dining-room, kitchen, and bedroom. The structure is of iron on a wooden frame, and could not have cost more than £400, inclusive of the land. For it the Department are paying an annual rental of £45, which is equivalent to interest at 5 per cent, on an expenditure of £900. This shows what a poor business arrangement it is to remain in occupation of such inferior premises when, by the expenditure of .£500 or £600, much better accommodation could be given in a new building, both for the public and for the officer in charge.

Mr Groom - Does Chillagoe promise to be a permanent township ?

Mr BAMFORD - Yes. I was asked that question five years ago. The Chillagoe Company is constantly spending money upon the erection of new works there, while there are a number of other mining centres, such as the O.K. mine, round about. The State Government have reserved a site of nearly 2 acres in area in about the centre of the town for a post and telegraph office, so that in providing for a new building, all that the Government would have to consider would be the cost of the structure itself. The accommodation now given to the postmaster and his family is disgraceful, and something of which the Department ought to be ashamed. I hope that the Minister of Home Affairs will give me his assurance that the matter will receive attention. The Postmaster-General has told me several times that it will Le attended to; but I ask now for some definite promise.

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