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Tuesday, 2 August 1904

The CHAIRMAN - The resolution distinctly states that the ballot is to be taken without discussion.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I know that a number of honorable members intended to speak. I wish to speak myself, but I should be better prepared to do so after dinner. I do not know what is in the wind, but it appears to me that two or three honorable members who were going to speak have, for some reason or another, drawn back.

Mr Austin Chapman - Let us divide.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is useless to talk about a division. It was not intended that there should be a division on this clause, but that we should know when the debate on it had been concluded. If there is to be an adjournment now I cannot allow the matter to go without saying a few words. I have listened during the debate to some statements that are absolutely incorrect. Some were made by way of interjection, and some directly by different speakers. There are those who have attempted to cast ' blame upon me particularly, because the site which has of late been brought under notice was not previously, brought under the attention of honorable members. The honorable member for Grampians in the able speech which he has delivered has shown clearly what I previously said. I did not know that I had stated in this House that my objection to supporting this site, at the time when I was Minister of Home Affairs, was because it was so far south. But I knew that that was in my mind, and I thought, also, that the' people of Sydney might object to the selection of such a site. I stated at the time, to which reference was mad*, that Tumut is situated in one of the finest and richest valleys in New South Wales, and in my humble opinion it was one of the sites that would give satisfaction as a Federal Capital. But I then stated, also, that the Upper Murray was for scenery, for extent of good land, and fdr water supply, probably the finest valley that there is in Australia. I can now repeat what I then stated. I have travelled over a very large part of Australia ; I have explored the continent as much as most men ; and I say that for picturesqueness I have never seen a valley which could compare with the Upper Murray Valley. When we dealt with the matter on a previous occasion, Tumut, with its extent of rich land, its fine views, and its magnificent water supply, appeared to me to be an ideal spot on which to locate the Federal Capital. In addition to other qualifications, it is practically half-way between Sydney and Melbourne. Those were the reasons which mainly induced me to throw all the energy I could into securing the selection of that particular site. I cannot understand how any honorable member can state, as the honorable member for Dalley has done, that he voted last session for Tumut, but that on this occasion, having seen the district, he will not vote for it.. I can only say that the honorable member must have a very dim eye for the picturesque, must have a very poor knowledge of the difference between good and bad soil, and can have no idea of the importance of a good water supply for the Federal Capital. I wish now to refer to the way in which certain sites were decided on for inspection.

That has been referred to in debate, and referred to with an evident want of knowledge. The origin of the selection of these sites was my appointment of the late Mr. Alex. Oliver considerably before the members of the Federal Government were chosen, and, certainly, before the Federal Parliament was elected. My object then, as head of the Government of New South Wales, was to select some person who knew the country fairly well, and who, taking time by the forelock, would inspect the best sites. After his appointment, Mr. Oliver inserted notices in the press, which were circulated throughout New South Wales, asking all those who knew a particularly good site to communicate with him. There were, I think, forty or fifty sites, perhaps more, in regard to which there was reasonable anticipation of their being inspected.

Mr McLean - Mr. Oliver gave us the best report. we have yet had.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I must differ from the honorable member for Gippsland. Mr. Oliver's report was absolutely incorrect in some particulars, and I regret very much that he was induced, or allowed, to issue a report by way of a criticism on the report of the Royal Commission.

Mr Austin Chapman - The criticism was well deserved.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The report of Mr. Oliver showed that he was not the Alexander Oliver he was in the full prime and vigour of his life. Mr. Oliver's report was a petulant, unfair, and uncalled-for attack, and, certainly, did his well-earned reputation no good in his last days. I regret very much that Mr. Oliver ever made that second report; and, further, it has been clearly proved that in regard to his first report he- was in one or two instances absolutely wrong, as he acknowledged, in the face of the report of the Royal Commission subsequently appointed by the Federal Government.

Mr Austin Chapman - Mr. Oliver carefully reported the details as he understood them, but when he found out the true facts he simply gave-them.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That is to some extent correct; but I took the trouble to inquire how it was that Mr. Oliver dropped into so many errors. I inquired from one or two of the leading heads of Departments in New South Wales, and the reply given to me was that Mr. Oliver, either for the reason that he did not want to spend too much money, or for some other reason, did not obtain the best' officers to make inquiries and report. There were none so competent as the heads of Departments to instruct him as to the officers from whom information could be best obtained ; but what I have stated was the reason given to me as the one which caused Mr. Oliver to fall into so many serious errors - errors which were pointed out by the Commission subsequently appointed. Mr. Oliver selected the sites which he conceived to be eligible, and reported accordingly ; and I do think that he :was extremely unfair in regard to Albury, Corowa, and the Murray districts generally. It was most unfair to those districts that he should put them on one side, simply for the reason that they were, in his opinion, too far from Sydney. As a matter of fact, I may point out to the honorable member for Gippsland that Bombala, or any other outlandish place in that neighbourhood, is further south than Albury.

Mr McLean - Bombala is exactly midway between Melbourne and Sydney.

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member for Hume ought to know the opinion of the House in regard to Alburv.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Mr. Oliver had a good deal to do with forming the opinion of the House in regard to Albury. I shall not go to the honorable member for Eden Monaro for an opinion on any place other than Bombala; the honorable member seems to lose his temper whenever he discusses the matter, and that is never a wise thing to do. I could not allow this question to be discussed without saying a word or two in regard to Mr. Oliver's report on Albury and the Murray districts. Mr. Oliver does not show in his report that Albury is not a suitable site. He does not show that at Albury there is any absence of water supply, or that the climate is objectionable - he simply gives the one reason that the place is too far south of Sydney. Finally, he recommended Bombala, having trent about a week or ten days there.

Mr Crouch - Mr. Oliver said l&at Tumut had a good climate.

Mr Austin Chapman - How long did the Royal Commission spend at Twofold Bay? Ten minutes?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I think the Commission stayed long enough at Twofold Bay to get a good idea of the piao?. I have been there many times, and I knew the district almost as well as does my honorable friend who represents it in this

Parliament. I know that one can get a good idea of the place in a few hours. All this, however, is by the way. The honorable and learned member for Corio . has suggested that Mr. Oliver said that Tumut has a good climate ; and so it has. It is unfortunate that some people wish, without justification, to vilify Tumut in every way ; and in regard to this particular district there has been a good deal of unfairness. Tumut, though not extensive, is one of the finest valleys on the Continent, and it possesses a climate in which people, who have lived for many years in hotter districts, can reside, without injury to their constitution. That, I need not say,' is not possible at Bombala or Dalgety., where only those of iron constitution can survive.

Mr Austin Chapman - After members of Parliament visited Tumut, that site became out of the question.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I would suggest that the honorable member for EdenMonaro address the House after I have finished. The honorable member has jibed at rae a good deal, but I am not going to get out of temper. It is unfortunate that the weather was warm on the day when most honorable members went to Tumut. But though there may occasionally be a hot day, still any man, woman, or child who has lived in a hot climate for many years can live there without danger or fear. That cannot be said concerning the Monaro country. Statements have been made regarding the Tumut climate, and the unheallthiness of the neighbourhood, that are not capable of being verified ; but an impression has been ' produced owing to which I fear there is not much hope of Tumut being selected by the House.

Mr Mahon - Do not lose heart.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not losing heart. I never did in my life. But I cannot shut my eyes to facts. Honorable members can see from the map that the Bombala and Dalgety sites -are much further from Sydney than either the Welaregang or Tumut sites. In fact, Bombala is fortynine miles further south than Welaregang, and Dalgety is twenty-six miles furthersouth.'

Mr Austin Chapman - Dalgety is closer to Sydney than Welaregang.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The honorable member has repeated that statement many times, and it may be that he is right, taking the route of the present railway, which runs direct to Goulburn, then takes a direction light away west from the coast, from whence it comes round to Cootamundra. Following -that line round the distance is perhaps further, but not if we take a direct line. Honorable members can measure the distance for themselves upon the map. In a direct line I do not think there is a difference of much more than a mile or two. If the railway communication were anything like direct, it would be found that Welaregang was much more accessible to Sydney than is Dalgety or Bombala. It is not to be supposed that, for all time, the railway will remain as it now exists. Surveys have been made taking off at various points along the line between Goulburn and Cooma, and also at points to Cootamundra ; and .though it might be an expensive railway, it is possible to make a line direct to Welaregang through Tumut. But, in the state of our finances, and at this early stage of the history of the Federal Capital, I do not think that it is necessary to construct a ' railway at great cost in the most direct way. It may be left for future decision as to what railways are to be constructed between the Capital Site and the various States of Australia. I will deal as rapidly as possible with the various suggested sites, though much of what I have to say will, no doubt, be a repetition of what I said on the previous occasion. The harbor at Eden or Twofold Bay is, I admit, a pretty little place, but it would take a large sum of money to make it practically useful for a number of ships.

Mr Austin Chapman - What was the honorable member's- statement in the New South Wales Parliament as to the necessity for building a railway to Twofold Bay?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The honorable member has not quoted my statement.

Mr Austin Chapman - I will quote it.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I dare say the honorable member will quote something that was said in connexion with some project that I was dealing with at that particular time.

Mr Mahon - Perhaps there was logrolling going on.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No, there was hot ; but I think there was some idea of running a railway through to Melbourne.

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member wanted to tap the Monaro country. He said it was magnificent country, with a good port.

Mr Reid - And that it would hold all the navies in the world 1

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Twofold Bay could be made, with a great deal of expense, a good harbor. But at the present time it is not a good extensive harbor for numbers of large ships. I say, advisedly, that one of the large ships that are now engaged in the Australian 'trade, such as the Peninsular and Oriental and Orient boats, and even the largest of our coastal vessels, would find great difficulty in getting shelter anywhere near the wharf in Twofold Bay. I do not believe that such a vessel could even get to the wharf. But I think there is a plan in existence showing how breakwaters could be built at a cost of something over £1 , 000,000, to make it a good harbor for a few large ships.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - For the coasting trade.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes. I totally dissent from those honorable members who advocate the Monaro site on account of the harbor. The world to-day is building its principal capital cities away from harbors or seaboard. Recent wars have proved that a Seat of Government should not be near a harbor where it can be easily attacked by an enemy. I do not see that there is any necessity or utility, for the sake of a harbor, to select a spot which is not nearly so good as some other places that have been suggested. When we had made the harbor, at a cost of about £1,200,000, we should have to construct a railway to climb country like the side of a house. The railway would have to run up 2,000 feet. ' The distance in a direct line is about fifty miles, but as the line would have to wind in and out, so as to obtain possible grades, the fifty miles would be extended to something like eightyfive. In addition to that, the Monaro tableland - referring especially to Bombala and the neighbourhood - is degrees colder than any other tableland in Australia. The reason why it is so cold is that the prevailing winds during the winter are westerly. Blizzards blow over the snow-capped mountains of Kosciusko and the Bogongs. The wind on the tableland is keen enough to destroy any man who is getting on in years, and who has come from a warmer climate. It is not a good place to which to send representatives from Queensland and Western Australia. In regard to the quality of the soil, there are little valleys here and there which contain good land, but taking the average, the Bombala country is poor. It is an unhealthy country so far as stock is concerned. A railway would have been built there long ago had it not been realized that the country was so poor. It was not a question of money that prevented New South Wales extending her railway system to the Monaro tableland. If the country had been as valuable as has been described, the line would have been constructed. It is not a difficult country through which to build a line from Sydney.

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member as Premier of New South Wales introduced a motion favorable to the construction of the line.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not sure whether I did, but certainly Parliament did not authorize the construction of the railway. I am now thinking of the time when the line was extended to Cooma. What was to prevent its being carried on to Bombala ? The traffic about Cooma is so small they cannot afford to maintain a refreshment room at the railway station. I cannot understand . anyone saying that country of that kind is suitable for a Federal Capital. There have been opportunities for the development of the country about Cooma within reasonable distance of the railway terminus, but it has not developed, and closer settlement has not prospered, simply because it could not take place to the advantage of the settler. The honorable member for Gippsland has spoken of the wheat crops of the neighbourhood. There is no wheat production of any consequence.

Mr Austin Chapman - What does the mill crush then? Sand?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The people there do not grow enough wheat to eat.

Mr Austin Chapman - That is absurd.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is not ; they import a large proportion of their flour, and they do not export to any extent. Indeed, I do not know that they export flour at all. Close to Bombala there are, no doubt, patches of black soil country, where almost anything will grow. But they are not extensive ; and, taking the tableland as a whole, it is a very poor place for agricultural settlement. Coming to Dalgety, I admit that I have not seen the proposed site. It may be that some of . the land in the neighbourhood is better than I. have understood. But I have never known granite country in New South Wales to be first class. It is not good for stock. I will direct the attention of the Victorian representatives to some of

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member admits that it is possible?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is possible, but I believe, although I have not seen it, that it would be necessary to go for a considerable distance up the river to get a sufficient fall for a gravitation scheme. I oppose a site on the coldest table-land, when there is no necessity to go there. To connect the table-land with Cooma and to continue the railway through Bombala to Melbourne, would be a gigantic undertaking, involving a huge expense. On the last occasion on which this question was discussed [ produced the surveys, from the Survey Office of Victoria, of two proposed lines from Bairnsdale to Bombala. They are called four surveys, but in reality there are only two, with deviations. The grades of the first survey which was made were one in thirty. I believe that in New South Wales there is only one grade of that kind, and an effort is being made to get rid of it - it has always been a bugbear to the Southern Railway. On the Western Railway there was a grade of one in thirty, but the Railway Commissioners made a tunnel, at great expense, in order to get rid of the Penrith Zigzag. It was found from the surveys above referred to that the ' curves were from 5 to 8 inches radius, and every one knows that it is absolutely impossible to run a fast train on a line with such curves and grades. When I looked at the second survey I thought that an improvement had been made, but I found that it had grades of one in forty with better curves. It did not go, however, to Bombala, but to a place called Bondi, which is I.000 feet below Bombala.

Mr Watson - It did not1 climb the mountain at all.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No. It would be necessary to go from Bondi to Bombala, in about twenty-four miles I think, and rise to a height of 1,000 feet.

Sir John Forrest - There is a Bondi Pass.

Mr King O'malley - Could we not have a chute down to Twofold Bay ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The wheat which is grown there could be put in a chute at the top of the mountain and shot down to Eden. That is about the only way in which it could be got down with ease and comfort. I have no doubt that Dalgety is a better place than Bombala for the reason that ' the water supply is better - probably it is good - and it is so much closer to the mountain that I believe that the excessively cold winds which strike on the table-land of Bombala would, to a large extent, blow oyer Dalgety, and lose their extreme cold and bitterness.

Mr King O'malley - But the land at Dalgety is very poor.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is poor everywhere, except in patches.

Sir John Forrest - But the honorable member has not been there.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have never known any granite country which was much good.

Sir John Forrest - It is not all granite country.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am not saying much about Dalgety, because I have not been there, and I only know of it from hearsay. If there was a place other than those I have been strongly in favour of that I should have been inclined to vote for, had it been amongst those submitted, it would have been Lake George. I believe that it is next best to Tumut, and that for two reasons it would give greater satisfaction than almost any other site which has been suggested.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is second to Lyndhurst.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Lyndhurst is absolutely the worst site of all, as I shall point out presently. The reason why Lake George, to my mind, would be a good site, is that the land is fairly good for agriculture, and there is the possibility of making almost an inland sea. At a very small expense, I believe, the waters of the Murrumbidgee River could be turned into it, and a dam could be erected at the lower end, thus making an inland sea.

Mr KING O'MALLEY (DARWIN, TASMANIA) -O'malley. - How is the climate there?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - At times it is hot in the summer ; but the climate is good. It also has this advantage, that by constructing a railway of about seventy miles, we could tap Jervis Bay, which, as a harbor, is, I believe, second only to Port Jackson. Lyndhurst is, I repeat, the worst site of all. There is nothing to recommend it to honorable members. The land is not very good. There are spots of basalt land, which are reasonably good, but, taken as a whole, the land is not good. And, despite what was said by the honorable member for Macquarie the other night, there is a grave difficulty about getting anything like a reasonably cheap or substantial water supply. That, in my opinion, is a first essential. I cb- not take the view, as some honorable members do, that we should not go west because it would be near Sydney, or because the trade would go through Sydney. I believe that if this House had the opportunity, and the 100miles limit did not exist, Sydney would be selected, even now. Therefore, I do not think that there is much argument in the fact that the western district is close to Sydney. But the Lyndhurst site is not good. If a site is to be selected in the west, let it be about Orange or Bathurst or perhaps between Orange and Wellington, where good land and a better water supply could be got than at Lyndhurst. But of all the places in the west - and I know the west as well as most honorable members do - Lyndhurst is the worst site, arid it would not have been heard of but for the efforts of my friend, Mr. Biddulph, who, to his credit be it said, in the interests of the district, has fought very long and very hard to try to prove, not that water will run uphill, but that water exists where it does not. The credit is due to him for having brought this spot so prominently forward, and kept it in evidence so long. But if honorable members are determined to go west, certainly let them go to Orange, or between

Orange and Wellington, where they could find a site which would be worthy of the location of the Federal Capital.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member said that Lyndhurst was the best site of all.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I beg the honorable member's pardon, I did not.

Mr Crouch - The honorable member said in the Sydney Daily Telegraph that he would rather have Lyndhurst than any other site in New South Wales.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not think the Daily Telegraph stated that; but if it did, it only keeps up its reputation of scarcely ever telling the truth about me,

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member would not have been Premier of New South Wales if it had not been for that newspaper.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I have repeatedly said that at Orange a suitable site could be found.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member said in this House that the western site was the best.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That is not Lyndhurst. I am repeating what I have said before.

Mr Austin Chapman - Let it pass. The honorable member has had fifteen sites suggested in his own district.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - And each one of them is a better site than Bombala. I do not know what is likely to happen in regard to the western site, but if that area be selected, I should do my level best to prevent the Federal Capital being located at Lyndhurst. I should like to see some other spot chosen.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the honorable member support the selection of Orange?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If the western area were selected, I should support Orange a long' way before Lyndhurst.

Mr Fuller - Is the honorable member going to vote for Tooma?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The honorable member. will know when I sit down. I wish to say a few words in indorsement ofwhat has been said regarding the railway connexion. I desire to be fair, and trust that, on an important question of this kind, honorable members will at least give me the credit - though I have beautiful sites in my own electorate - of voting for the site I conceive to be the best, irrespective of whose electorate it is in. If the leader of the Opposition and those who are supporting a western site had not opposed my project to extend the railway from Cobar to Wilcannia, and thence to Broken Hill, and from Wellington to Werris Creek, those lines would have been in existence to-day.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - They must come.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - -The honorable member knows better than that.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I think I know as much about the policy of railway construction for New South Wales as the honorable member does.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think I know more about that- particular railway than the honorable member does.

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