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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - This item includes the sum of £8,000, which . it is intended to spend upon a temporary Military College at Geelong.

Senator Millen - Will that be the total outlay there?

Senator PEARCE - It will be the total outlay upon buildings. A sum of £5,000 is provided for plant, but that plant will be subsequently removed to Jervis Bay.

Senator Millen - Will the£8,000 be expended upon Government land?

Senator PEARCE - No. That sum is to be expended upon buildings, the greater portion of which will be erected with a view to their subsequent removal to the Flinders naval base.

Senator Millen - What is the material to be used in their erection?

Senator PEARCE - Wood.

Senator Sayers - And £8,000 is to be expended upon a wooden building?

Senator PEARCE - And upon certain alterations which will have to be made in the present buildings. Senator Rae asked what was the reason underlying the proposal to establish a temporary Naval College at Geelong. That reason has been supplied by the honorable senator himself. I have heard him protest against the importation of military officers into Australia. I have heard him denounce the Government for appointing imported officers to various positions. Now, we cannot pick up naval officers on the beach, and, in order to meet the view that we should have our own naval officers as soon as possible, we have decided to establish a temporary Naval College at Geelong. As this site was offered to us free of cost, we thought it would be worth our while to enter our cadets there, and thus gain a year in turning out our own naval officers. The idea underlying the proposal is a desire to have Australian naval officers available a year earlier than would otherwise have been possible. In the meantime, the College at Jervis Bay is to be pushed forward, and the Department of Home Affairs has promised to have the buildings there ready for the reception of the first batch of cadets in February, 1914. As regards the Dreadnought fund, the original proposal was to- hand over to the Commonwealth a sum of £40,000 conditionally that the money was expended near Sydney. Since then the Government have announced that they will not accept the site proposed near to that city, and have decided to establish the Naval College at Jervis Bay. The trustees of the fund have finally determined to make the grant without that. condition.

Senator Rae - Have they attached any condition to it?

Senator PEARCE - No.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to8p.m.

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