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Tuesday, 23 September 1902

Mr THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I desire to ask whether the Acting Minister for Defence is determined to avoid the necessity for taking over the enormously expensive city water frontage of Dawes Point, and whether, considering the enormous area of land which is dedicated to military purposes in the neighbourhood of Sydney, it is necessary to obtain any substitute in the way of a city water frontage ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am sure it is not the desire of the Government to take any expensive water frontage - in this case 7 or S acres of what is practically park land - which could be better utilized in beautifying that particular part of Sydney. As to taking the whole of the other lands which have been occupied by the military authorities, it is quite impossible to say at the present time whether they will be all required.- For instance, there are the Victoria .Barracks, and some water frontages, notably from Athol Bay to Middle Head, and in Middle Harbor. I think, however, it is necessary to retain these lands, not because they are required immediately, but because they were reserved many years ago by, I think, Sir James Martin, for defence purposes, in case of an attack by a fleet. At the present time, however, there is no particular spot held by the military authorities close to Sydney, where the Defence department can obtain a deep water frontage or wharfage suitable for embarking or disembarking troops, or for the landing of naval or military stores. Such a frontage is what I desire, and what I have been trying to get from the State ' Government, not with the idea that they should give it to the Commonwealth, but that we should be able to buy it for less than we should pay for the Dawes Point land. If there were a spot close by which we could turn to account, we could very easily give up Dawes Point, but there is no such spot either at Circular Quay, Darling Harbor, or Wolloomooloo Bay, at one of which places there ought to be a water frontage, which the Defence department may use as desired. It does not follow that there would be an exclusive right on the part of the Federal Government to the use of this frontage or wharfage; they might lease it to a company, reserving only the power to utilize it at certain times. I have, I think, suggested a practical settlement of the question.

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