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Thursday, 26 May 1904

Mr KING O'MALLEY (DARWIN, TASMANIA) - She could land them at Sea Elephant Bay, or at Wickham. The port to be selected would depend upon the quarter from which the wind was blowing. If the steamer could not land passengers at one point she would be able to do so at the other. There is a landing place on this side of the island, which one might say is in the very track of the Kawaliri, that runs between Strahan and Melbourne. That vessel is never overladen, and, even if she were delayed an hour or two as the result of the granting of this convenience, it would be immaterial.

Sir John Forrest - Does she carry passengers ?

Mr O'MALLEY - Yes ; but, as a rule, they are not landed at Strahan on Saturdays before 9 p.m., and a delay, of a couple of hours would be nothing, as compared with the advantage that the people of King Island would receive from the granting of this accommodation. The island has become, within the last two years, a most important centre of civilization. At present the mails are carried by a small steamer, wrhich, I would not be surprised to learn, was one of the rowing boats attached to Noah's Ark, but, having been fitted with a steam engine, is now employed in this service. One never knows how long she will take to reach her destination. It is my desire that passengers and mails for King Island should be carried by the Kawatiri, and this arrangement would not involve any large increase on the cost of the present service.

Mr Mahon - Does the honorable member say that it would cost very little more than does the present service?

Mr O'MALLEY - It would not largely exceed the present cost.

Mr Mahon - What does the honorable member believe would be the increased cost ?

Mr O'MALLEY - I do not wish to make any calculations at the present stage, but we shall have an opportunity later on to discuss it. I trust that the PostmasterGeneral will accept the motion, and I am sure that he will have ample opportunity to give effect to it.

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