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Wednesday, 3 August 1904

Mr KENNEDY (Moira) - I do not propose to deal at any great length with this question, but since I possess a fairly intimate knowledge of the country comprised in the only three sites likely to receive practical consideration - the Murray site, the Tumut site, and the Lyndhurst site - I feel it incumbent upon me to reply to some of the statements which have been made about them. Considerable stress has been laid on the fact that the Tooma site has only recently been brought under notice. But may I remind honorable members that when the last Bill was before us, I, with others, voted for the Tumut site on the clear understanding that the Tooma site would be reported .on.

Mr Fowler - Why was not that site reported on?

Mr KENNEDY - It may have been because of the native modesty of the then Minister of Home Affairs, in whose electorate Tooma is situated, and who had other sites in his electorate. But, at any rate, he gave us to understand that the site should be reported on. The knowledge which I have gained in regard to the various districts of which I am about to speak is not the result of recent observations, because I had not the privilege of visiting them with other honorable members, but of my experience in travelling through them, generally with stock, more than twenty years ago. The information which I possess has not been gained by a hurried glance. I have spent as much as a month in travelling from Tumut to Welaregang through Tumberumba, and I have been from Welaregang up the Murray towards Mount Kosciusko. I spent as much as three months on the station on which the Dalgety site is situated. I have . also travelled repeatedly through the Bombala district, and through the Lyndhurst district. A good deal has been said about the price which was demanded by New South Wales for joining the Union, and some honorable members have gone so far as to claim that the Parliament of that State should select the Federal territory. My reading of the Constitution, however, is that the first step to be taken is for this Parliament to select a territory which will embrace an area suitable for the site of the Seat of Government, and that the site of the city should be afterwards chosen. I understand that what is now proposed is that we shall select the Federal territory, and not the site of the Seat of Government. That, I think, is the proper course to follow.

Mr Brown - All the information which has been laid before us refers to sites, not to territory.

Mr KENNEDY - I am aware that the information in our possession is incomplete, and that there are conflicting statements in regard to the various sites. I propose to rely for confirmation of the views I shall express on what I hold to be the best and most reliable authority - the report of the Royal Commission appointed at the instance of this Parliament to investigate the matter. It has been remarked that the possibilities of the Tooma site are an after consideration ; but I would point out that the possibilities of the Dalgety site are also an after consideration. When the matter was last dealt with, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro spoke enthusiastically about Bombala. According to him, there was no other spot in Australia so well adapted to be the site of the Seat of Government. Now, however, we hear nothing about Bombala. Instead, a little spot on a bend of the Snowy River, termed the Dalgety site, has been chosen. The Federal Commissioners, however, tell us that the country there is treeless, and that it requires two acres of it to feed a sheep. The only timber within a considerable distance of Dalgety is that growing on a low ridge of hills wh'ich somewhat shelters the site from the west.

Sir John Forrest - That is not so.

Mr KENNEDY - I have for three months at a time ridden against the biting winds which blow over that desert country - and I am not speaking of its midwinter climate. Even the river flats will not grow timber. At any rate, no timber grows there now.

Sir John Forrest - The proposed site is not situated on the river flats.

Mr KENNEDY - Of course not. If the city were placed there, its buildings would be continually washed away by floods. However, let us hear what the Commissioners have to say on the subject. This is a quotation from their supplementary report -

The appearance of the Site, which, even on the river banks, is almost entirely destitute of timber, does not suggest the idea that parks and gardens would flourish ; but the local witnesses are unanimous in their belief that all the trees adapted to temperate climates could be grown.

The only belt of timber within twenty miles of the locality is that growing on the ridge of hills beween Beloka and the Mowamba River, from which it is proposed to obtain the water supply of the Federal Capital.

Mr McDonald - Why does not timber grow there?

Mr KENNEDY - For one reason, the place is too bleak.

Mr McDonald - In Queensland there are vast areas of very fertile land on which no trees are growing.

Mr KENNEDY - I account for that by climatic conditions. In the western plains of New South Wales there are also immense areas, which, given a good rainfall, would be extremely productive, but there is practically no timber there.

Mr McColl - The Riverina district is also treeless.

Mr KENNEDY - Yes. But in addition to being bleak, there are also large outcrops of granite in the Dalgety district, particularly to the north and east of it. The site itself is situated opposite the old Buckley's Crossing.

Sir John Forrest - Is Coolringdon all granite ?

Mr KENNEDY - No; but there is a good deal of granite out in that direction. Of course there is some good country there, because they rear sheep there; but the Commissioners state on indisputable evidence that its carrying capacity is only one sheep to two acres.

Sir John Forrest - Is it not good country between Dalgety and Cooma?

Mr KENNEDY - There are patches of good country there.

Sir John Forrest - Is it not good country all the way through?

Mr KENNEDY - Certainly not. Country which will carry only one sheep to two acres cannot be described as good. But it is not only the carrying capacity of the country which makes me think it unsuitable for the location of the Federal Capital. The report from which I have quoted expresses the view of local residents that trees could be grown -

Particularly if the hardier trees, such aspinus insignis,&c.,were used for shelter from the high winds which prevail at certain seasons. Though protected to some extent from the westerly winds by the high ground along the western boundary, the Site is somewhat exposed.

Mr Austin Chapman - How long is it since the honorable member was there?

Mr KENNEDY - The honorable member will find my name in large letters on the books of the Marrinumbla station for the year 1884.

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member says there is no timber there; but does he know that the late Minister for Home Affairs was lost in the timber within five or six miles of the site?

Mr KENNEDY - Some Members of Parliament when they get out into the wilds are very easily lost. The Commissioners place Dalgety second to Tumut in the matter of water supply.

Mr Austin Chapman - But consider who appointed the Commissioners.

Mr KENNEDY - That is not the question, unless the honorable member is prepared to challenge the impartiality and honesty of the Commissioners.

Mr Austin Chapman - I am prepared to do so.

Mr KENNEDY - I assume that the Commissioners faithfully performed the duties intrusted to them.

Mr Austin Chapman - Does the honorable member seriously contend that the report with regard to the water supply at Dalgety is a fair one?

Mr KENNEDY - I do; and my reasons are embodied chiefly in the report of the Commissioners. It is proposed to obtain the water supply, in the first instance, from the Mowamba River, which the Commissioners say is the nearest source of supply by gravitation for a population of 50,000. I know full well, that in order to obtain a gravitation supply from the Snowy River, we should have to go a considerable dis lance further back.

Mr Austin Chapman - Has the honorable member read what Mr. Pridham has to say about that matter?

Mr KENNEDY - No; I -do not know Mr. Pridham in this connexion. If he had been an authority, he would probably have been consulted by the Commissioners.

Mr Austin Chapman - But his report is already before us.

Mr Brown - Mr. Pridham supplied the information embodied in the Commissioners' report.

Mr KENNEDY - I am reading from the report of the Commissioners, who were the properly-constituted authorities to deal with this matter. They say -

This river (the Mowamba River) is said by residents to run strongly throughout the year, and it has a catchment area of about 02 square miles above the point of off-take, which is situated at the lower end of the Moonbah Plain. The land included in the catchment area is used principally for pastoral purposes, but portions are suitable for cultivation, and the whole of it should be resumed to insure the purity of .the water. About 32,000 acres have been alienated, the remainder being Crown lands.

The alienated lands would have to be resumed, because we know from experience that where a pure water supply is required it is absolutely necessary to guard against pollution through settlement upon the catchment area. Then the Commissioners proceed to make an estimate, and state that in order to provide a supply sufficient for a given population, an outlay of £328,000 would have to be incurred. The reason why. the Commissioners place Dalgety second to Tumut in the matter of water supply is obvious, because at Tumut a gravitation scheme could be provided, and practically the whole of the catchment area would be Crown lands. That is the difference in favour of Tumut. We have heard a great deal about accessibility, and many exaggerated statements have been made with regard to the possibility of constructing a line from the existing railways to Dalgety. Now, what do the Commissioners say with regard to the cost of the lines necessary to make Dalgety accessible? The lowest estimate they give for a line from Cooma to Dalgety is £4,700 per mile. The cost of the line that would be necessary to connect the site with the Eastern railways of Victoria would render its construction quite out of the question. The Victorian Government have refused to extend their eastern lines, owing to the fact that there is no prospect, under existing conditions, of securing any return for the outlay. They would be prepared to incur a small present loss, if there were any possibility of development in settlement and production in the near future.

Mr Kelly - Would they be able to run fast trains on such a line?

Mr KENNEDY - That would depend upon the route selected. The cost of a line to connect Dalgety with the Eastern railway system of Victoria would amount to very nearly £3,000,000. I now desire to refer to another site which has been extolled as the only place suitable for the establishment of the Federal Capital. I refer to Lyndhurst. I need not deal with the question of accessibility, because we know that the site is already practically connected with Sydney by rail. I was astonished last night to hear several of the advocates of the site admit that within the last two years a drought had prevailed in that part of the country. If we are to build a Capital, it is not desirable that we should select a site in a drought-stricken country.

Mr Kelly - It has been shown that even during the drought period the water supply at Lyndhurst would have been sufficient to meet the requirements of 200,000 people.

Mr KENNEDY - I asked last night, by way of interjection, whether the Lyndhurst district had been affected by the drought, and I was told that most certainly it had been affected.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Was not the Riverina district also affected by the drought?

Mr KENNEDY - Certainly it was ; but no one proposes to build the Federal Capital in Riverina.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - One of the sites is not very far from it.

Mr KENNEDY - I shall deal with that later on. It is admitted, even by the advocates of the Lyndhurst site, that an adequate water supply is one of the essentials. I admit that, so far as its elevation is concerned, Lyndhurst should be a healthy locality, and I also acknowledge that there is some very good land in the district. It is not like the Monaro country, where people might starve, so far as production is concerned, because it would be impossible to supply a very large population with food. At Lyndhurst, there is country within easy reach, which would be capable of producing all the food required by a large population. The water supply would not, however, in my estimation, be sufficient. Without entering too much into details, I would point out that all the authorities are agreed as to the sources from which the water supply will be derived. They are the Coombing Rivulet, Flyer's Creek, Cadi.angullong Creek, Brown's Creek, and the Lachlan River, near Mount Macdonald. Now, what have the Commissioners to say with regard to the Coombing Rivulet? -

The Coombing Rivulet, which is proposed as the primary source of supply, has a catchment above the point of off-take, about one mile and a half south-west of the village of Shaw, of about eighty square miles, consisting of hilly country, in which is included the eastern slopes of Mount Macquarie. At the time of inspection the rivulet was practically dry, so that flood waters only would have to be depended upon. In ordinary seasons, however, there is said to be running water in this creek throughout the year.

Therefore, it is proposed to obtain the chief supply from a rivulet which was dry at the time of the inspection of the Commissioners. The Commissioners were specially appointed to inquire into this particular question, and I regard their report as the most reliable source of information. The honorable member for Lang, last evening, quoted from a private letter. In some Parliaments an honorable member who quotes from a letter may be required to place it upon the table, and unless the honorable member is prepared to place any documents from which he quotes at the disposal of honorable members, he cannot expect us to attach much importance to the sources of his information.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think that the honorable member is quite prepared to lay the letter on the table.

Mr KENNEDY - The honorable member stated that it was a private document, and therefore I did not suggest that it should be laid on the table. I am only pointing to the difference between the two authorities. The Commissioners, whose report must be regarded as an honest one, unless honorable members are prepared to challenge it, state that one source of supply, the Coombing rivulet, was dry at the time of their inspection. They say further -

The land included in the catchment area is used partly for cultivation and partly for pastoral purposes. About 46,540 acres have been alienated, the remainder being Crown land. To insure the purity of the water the whole of it should be resumed.

Therefore, the position at Lyndhurst is practically the same as at Dalgety, and a large expenditure would be required for resumptions in connexion with the catchment area. In a case where storm waters only can be relied upon, and the catchment area comprises a large amount of cultivated land, we can imagine what an enormous quantity of silt would be carried into the reservoir. One of the other sources of supply is Flyer's Creek, which is thus referred to -

Flyers Creek, which takes ils rise near the Canobolas Mountain, has a catchment area above the site of the dam, at the outlet end of Long Swamp, of eighteen square miles, consisting principally of hilly country favorable for the collection of water. The land is used for both agricultural and pastoral purposes, and would have to be acquired to insure the purity of the water, which would involve the purchase of about 10,750 acres, the remainder being Crown lands.

Therefore, in that case also, we should have to rely upon storm waters. Then the Commissioners say -

Cadiangullong Creek, -which was dry at the time of inspection, has a catchment area above the proposed site for the dam, below the junction with Soldier's Creek, of fourteen and a half square miles, including the southern spurs of the Canobolas Mountain, the whole being favorable for collecting water. The land is principally rough and hilly, and used chiefly for pastoral purposes, but to insure the purity of the water, the area would need to be resumed.

It will thus be seen that two out of three creeks were dry at the time of the Commissioners' inspection.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is the catchment area of the Melbourne water supply ?

Mr KENNEDY - I do not intend to discuss that matter at the present juncture. Everything depends upon the rainfall and the volume of water running off the catchment area. The Commissioners also say -

Brown's Creek, which is also proposed as a supplementary source of supply, has, above the site for the dam, about one mile below Sugarloaf Creek, a hilly catchment area of about 47 square miles, favorable for the collection of water. The creek contained very little running water at the time of inspection.

These are the four creeks from which it is proposed to draw a supply of water for the Lyndhurst site. I notice also that a report has been secured upon the feasibility of obtaining a supply by pumping from the Lachlan, but the cost of that scheme renders it impracticable. I do not intend to say anything regarding the Lyndhurst site, further than that the cost of obtaining an adequate water supply practically condemns it.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member should read Mr. Wade's report.

Mr KENNEDY - I have read it. I have already stated that upon the previous occasion when this question was discussed, I voted with the Welaregang site clearly in my mind. It is unfortunate that we are not in possession of a full report upon that site. The information which is available, however, places it at the head of the list so far as the possession of all essentials for a Federal Capital are concerned. Of course, if the Committee desire to obtain a site in close proximity to Sydney, it may be possible to get an equally good one. Nevertheless, I venture to say that we cannot obtain a better location for a Federal Capital than exists at Welaregang. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa has declared that from the stand-point of climate it is practically upon an equality with, and is similar to, the Tumut site. Upon that point Mr. Chesterman, who has made a hurried report upon this particular site, and who has been resident in that district for some five years, says -

The Welaregang-Tooma Valley is protected by lower ranges from the cold westerlies, the prevailing winter winds, which blow toward the Snowy Mountains. These mountains, in a direct line, are about thirty miles south-easterly, and their proximity tempers the summer climate, the easterly breezes blowing from them. Though the average altitude of the suggested Site may not exceed about 1,100 feet, the above local conditions contribute to render the climate free from marked extremes, .and it will be noticed that the situation is immediately south of the 36th parallel of latitude. With its varying elevations this district offers various climatic conditions. Take, for instance, Tumbarumba, about seventeen miles north, where the climate is distinctly more Alpine in character, the winters being severe. Again, about seventeen miles easterly, is the old Toolong Hut, situated in classified snow country - that is, country " usually covered with snow for a part of each year, and considered to be unfit for continuous use or occupation."

When honorable members declare that the elevation of a particular district governs its climatic conditions, I would direct their attention to the fact that this particular site is within seventeen miles of the snow line in one direction, and twenty-five miles in the other. As a matter of fact, it is within seventy miles of perpetual snow. These conditions, I claim, must materially influence its general climatic conditions. " With regard to accessibility, we have been told that it is absolutely impossible to construct a railway into that district. Yet we are aware that Tumut is already connected by a fair railway service with Sydney, and that the line could be made a fast one, if necessary. Twenty years ago, to my own knowledge, teamsters used to haul an average of 15 cwt. per horse over what war practically a bush road between Tumut and Tumberumba. That is sufficient proof that it is not impossible to extend the GundagaiTumut line from Gadara to Welaregang. In this report, estimates are given of the cost of constructing a line upon the Victorian side of that site. But I would point out that those estimates were prepared in the boom times of the early nineties. We know that since then railways which were surveyed at the same time have been built for half the estimate which was then furnished. Consequently, we may reasonably expect a reduction of 40 per cent, in the cost of constructing a railway upon the Victorian side of that site. It is fair to assume, therefore, that it could be constructed for about £5,000 per mile. That sum compares favorably with the latest estimate we have of the cost of constructing a railway from Cooma to Dalgety. It is estimated that the construction of that line would involve an expenditure of £4,700 per mile, and I venture to affirm that the cost of building a railway from Welaregang to Gadara would not exceed ,£5,000 per mile.

Mr Kelly - How many miles is it from Welaregang to Gadara?

Mr KENNEDY - It is between fifty and sixty miles.

Mr Austin Chapman - It is just fifty miles as the crow flies.

Mr KENNEDY - At a very moderate cost indeed this site could be made accessible to travellers by constructing a loop line from the main line between Melbourne and Svdney. I unhesitatingly claim that from the stand-point of soil and productiveness the ' Tooma site possesses advantages superior to those of any other site. An immense area, extending from fifteen miles on the south side of Tumut to the Tooma Valley, is available for a Federal territory.

Mr Johnson - It would . cost £15,000 per mile to construct a railway there.

Mr KENNEDY - That is a figment of the imagination. I have already told the Committee that, of my own knowledge, twenty years ago teams used to haul upon an average 15 hundredweight per horse along the Welaregang to Tumut road.

Mr Johnson - It always struck me as being particularly rough country.

Mr KENNEDY - No doubt there is rough country between Tumberumba and what is known as Lobb's Hole.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Are there any horses of that breed still alive?

Mr KENNEDY - Yes; I can supply the honorable member with plenty of them.

Mr Johnson - But Tumberumba is not Welaregang.

Mr KENNEDY - But the highest point in the journey between Tumut and Welaregang is reached at Tumberumba. From Tumberumba to Welaregang there is a downward grade, because the traveller is then on the watershed of the Tooma River. I repeat that twenty years ago teams used to haul over a road which was not macadamized - practically a bush road - an average of 15 hundredweight per horse. I am not in a position to say whether the whole of that road is now macadamized.

Mr Watson - A good deal of it is.

Mr KENNEDY - If a horse can draw 15 hundredweight over any country, I claim that it would not be a difficult matter to construct a railway there. Further, those who have travelled from Welaregang to Tumberumba know that between those places there is an almost perfect road for coaching. It does not require a specially good buggy horse to cover the seventeen miles in an hour and a half.

Mr Skene - The honorable member must keep verv good horses.

Mr KENNEDY - I did the journey in that time, but did not use my own horse.

Mr Spence - I suppose it was grown in the district.

Mr KENNEDY - That is so. It is well known that the "Upper Murray has produced some of the best horses in Australia.

Mr Johnson - I do not think that anyone disputes the productivity of the district.

Mr KENNEDY - The possibilities of development would be in themselves a suffi cient justification for constructing a railway to the Upper Murray district, even if the Federal Capital were not established there. It is generally conceded, however, that New South Wales, unfortunately, is not yet possessed of a sufficiently extensive railway system to enable rural districts to achieve the fullest possible development.

Mr Johnson - The Germanton extension does not pav now.

Mr KENNEDY - No ; but it is well known that it is only a short loop line, passing through country consisting practically of large holdings. I know the district well. Twenty years ago there were large holdings there, and the tendency, jf anything, has since been in the direction of increasing the area of those holdings. There is an enormous area of Crown land available in the Upper Murray district. One of the largest forest areas of New South Wales runs parallel with the roadway.

Mr Skene - Is that not the area of the watershed ?

Mr KENNEDY - It is within the Tumut watershed area. Then, again, the Upper Murray district is within easy reach of the famous Yarrangobilly Caves.

Mr Kelly - Are they not something like sixty-five miles distant?

Mr KENNEDY - Welaregang is seventeen miles from Tumberumba, and the distance between Tumberumba and Lobb's Hole by bridle track in the olden days was also about seventeen miles, but I am told that a direct road from- Tumut to the junction of the Yarrangobilly has since been made, and that it is a very good one. Let me briefly refer to the question of water supply. I invite those who are so enthusiastically in favour of Dalgety because of its magnificent water supply, and who have not yet visited the Upper Murray district, to read Mr. Chesterman' s report on the Tooma district. Those who have suggested that the stream's contributing to the proposed source of supply have been polluted by mining and sluicing operations- should read what Mr. Chesterman has to say on the subject.

Mr Kelly - Does not Mr. Chesterman sav that they are polluted?

Mr KENNEDY - Mr. Chestermansays that some of the streams flowing into the Tooma River below the point of the proposed offtake are polluted.

Mr Kelly - And the point of the proposed offtake is twenty-two miles away ?

Mr KENNEDY - It is something like that. Mr. Chesterman points out that the volume of water available for the supply of a Federal Capital is unquestionably large. There are three rivers to be drawn upon - the Tooma River, the Swampy Plain River, and the Indi River, which are all snow fed. The Tooma River joins the Murray at a point close to the proposed site, and the Swampy Plain and Indi rivers a little above that point.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Doctors say that snow-water is not good for drinking purposes.

Mr KENNEDY - It is bad when you cannot obtain it. Mr. Chesterman points out in his report that -

The district under reference is undoubtedly a well-watered one. The two main heads of the Murray River (known as the Swampy Plain and Indi Rivers) junction about ten miles above the proposed site, and between the site and this junction the main river is joined by another large stream, known as the Tooma River. In evidence given before the Inter-State Royal Commission on the River Murray, Mr. " Assistant Engineer " H. S. Smail, B.E., stated that he gauged these streams at a time when the river was in a very low state.

His gaugings show that the discharge from the Tooma River is equal to 17,800 cubic feet per minute; and if honorable members take the equivalent of that in gallons they will find that the supply will be ample for a very large population.

Mr McColl - It is more than 110,000 gallons per minute. .

Mr KENNEDY - The report continues -

Gaugings of smaller streams are also given, and the Murray River itself at Tintaldra showed a discharge of 947 cubic feet per second.

That was at a time when the river was in a very low state. Mr. Chesterman continues -

Looking at the watershed of the Murray River, so far as shown on plan " Y," with the objeect of ascertaining what gravitation schemes for water supply are available, it would appear that the upper parts of the Mannus and Tumberumba Creeks could be utilized, and also Paddy's Uiver above the Falls - all draining into the Tooma River.

I come now to a paragraph to which I desire to direct the special attention of the Committee -

Settlement and mining interests on the heads of these streams might, however, prove objectionable, and, moreover, I think a much more effective supply can be drawn from the main branch of the Tooma itself.

In other words, the two streams, whose waters are likely to be polluted by mining and sluicing operations, are to be completely ignored, . and a supply obtained, first of all, from the Tooma River, which wends its way through snow country, where sluic-ing or mining operations are not carried on. The catchment area consists of Crown lands, leased from year to year for grazing purposes. These lands are known as "summer country," and are resorted to when the plain country, which has been carrying a considerable number of stock, has become exhausted.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is held under what are known in New South Wales as snow leases.

Mr KENNEDY - Exactly. Mining and sluicing operations have been carried on along the Mannus Creek and the Turn.berumba Creek for many years, with the result that the water has become discoloured, and would be objectionable ' for domestic purposes; but the water supply of the Federal Capital, if it were established at Welaregang, would be drawn, not from those streams, but from the main Tooma River, at a point above the junction of those streams. The report continues -

From approximate aneroid readings I have been enabled to obtain, it would appear that the junction of Pound Creek with the Tooma River {vide map " Y") is at an elevation of about 1,700 feet, which, allowing a fall of 200 feet in about fifteen miles, would be at ,a sufficient altitude to permit of water being gravitated to a service reservoir at an elevation of 1,500 feet commanding the site. Proceeding about a mile further up the river a height of about 1,800 feet is reached, and, in order to allow a margin, it is from this point (marked "X" on map "Y"), distant about sixteen miles by pipe line from the city site, that I consider the Tooma River can be tapped for a gravitation scheme.

If the honrable member for Eden-Monaro will give me his attention for a moment, I shall endeavour- to draw a clear distinction between the water supply available at Tooma and that of Dalgety. Mr. Chesterman shows that -

The catchment area above this point comprises approximately ninety-three square miles of snow country, and so strong is the stream here at all times that to supply a population of 50,000 inhabitants I do not think a storage reservoir would be necessary. Such being so, the principal expenses would be limited to construction of small impounding weir at offtake, service reservoir near site, and the laying down of about sixteen or seventeen miles of pipe line. A short above the proposed offtake the Tooma River emerges from a deep gorge through which it has flowed for some miles with a rapid fall. Consequently it is not surprising to learn that at the old Toolong crossing, about eight miles above offtake, the altitude is given by departmental maps as 2,880 feet.

In this report we have evidence that we should be able to obtain an absolutely pure supply from the Tooma River itself. There is such a large volume of water available that if a small weir were constructed we should not require a large reservoir for conservation purposes, but would be -able to convey the water a distance of about sixteen or seventeen miles by pipe line to the service reservoir.

Mr Austin Chapman - Does the honorable member assert that we could not do the same at Dalgety?

Mr KENNEDY - I do.

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable member asks the . Committee to accept his assertion that the Tooma water supply is not polluted. What about the report of the Inter-State . Commission on the Murray River ?

Mr KENNEDY - I have already shown that to my own knowedge the Mannus Creek and the Tumberumba Creek, which flow into the Tooma River, were polluted by mining operations twenty years ago. The report by Mr. Chesterman confirms that statement, but points out that the proposed offtake on the Tooma River is above the junction of those two creeks.

Mr Kelly - His report was compiled from notes taken fifteen or twenty years ago, was it not?

Mr KENNEDY - I cannot say, but-

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - He says himself that he merely writes from memory.

Mr McColl - But he lived in the district for five years.

Mr Austin Chapman - I suppose the honorable member is aware that Mr. Chesterman gave us a glowing account of the water supply for the Gadara and Lacmalac sites?

Mr KENNEDY - He might well give a glowing account of their water supply. The water supply to the east or north-east of Tumut is somewhat similar to that available at Welaregang, although the volume is not the same.

Mr Austin Chapman - I do not understand that-

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! The honorable member is anticipating his own speech on the question.

Mr KENNEDY - It will be found from a perusal of Mr. Chesterman's report that the source of our water supply, if Tooma were selected, would not be polluted in any way. I do not propose to further discuss the question, except to say that 1 regard Lyndhurst as being first on' the list from the stand-point of accessibility. I admit that, so far as accessibility is concerned, Lyndhurst possesses an advantage, but in regard to water supply, I do not think it could be argued for one moment, on the evidence available, that that is a desirable place for the Federal city. I can speak from some considerable experience of Dalgety, having been engaged on the Marinumbula Station, which is on the proposed site. I lived there for a considerable portion of two years, and gained some familiarity with the conditions ; and my impressions are borne out' by the report presented to us. As stated in the report, the country for twenty or thirty miles around Dalgety would carry a sheep to two acres. According to the evidence, of some other witnesses, it would be possible, within a radius of fifty miles of Dalgety to grow the food necessary for a population of fifty thousand. That, however, is not saying much for the productiveness of this wonderful tableland on the Monaro. Other witnesses state that within that radius sufficient produce could not be grown for a population of the size I have mentioned ; and it is very difficult to grow produce on granite.

Mr Kelly - Whence does the honorable member expect to draw supplies? From the southern side of the Murray ?

Mr KENNEDY - Unless the New South Wales people remain asleep, certainly not. Surely it can be imagined that in a stretch of country, eighteen miles by twenty, it would be possible to grow a considerable amount of produce. Are we to take it that the digestion of the people at Welaregang, when that is made Federal territory, will be impaired by produce grown in Victoria? As to the climatic conditions at Dalgety, I might relate more of my personal experience. In pursuit of my business, I had occasion to take horses from the Riverina country over the hills to Monaro in the early part of November, which ought to be a good time of the year in a mild climate. It turned out, however, that after the animals had been turned out on those beautiful, undulating granite hills around Dalgety, for a week, I did not know them; and I venture to say that if they had been left to find their own food there, nobody would have been able to recognise them as horses. I had to take them from those pastures, and hand feed them in order to save their lives. In those cool westerly winds, tempered by the Snowy Mountains, the honorable member for EdenMonaro would require to wear " knockers " on his. teeth to keep them from chattering.

No doubt, people reared in such a climate might be able to stand the rigorous conditions.

Mr Skene - We should have the " survival of the fittest," I suppose. .

Mr KENNEDY - No doubt the people there are hardy. But what is the use of inducing Members of Parliament to suffer in such a climate for a few months in the year ? The . Seat of Government ought to be in a place where normal conditions prevail - not where we shall be parboiled or frozen, but where there are no extremes of heat or cold. Such a climate we should find in those uplands so graphically described by the honorable member for Perth, where, when the thermometer does rise to 85 or 90, it is only a short trip of ten or fifteen miles to -the snow line.

Mr Kelly - Would the honorable member reach the snow line by lift?

Mr KENNEDY - By' lift or motor-car, whichever the honorable member for Wentworth might desire. We are now called upon to decide a question not for to-day or tomorrow, but one in regard to which we must look fifty or a hundred years ahead.

Mr Kelly - Does the honorable member mean in regard to the buildings?

Mr KENNEDY - I am speaking of the fixing of the location. It is apparently considered by some honorable members that the selection should be made now ; and that may be desirable, if only to allay jealousy and distrust. I have no objection to settling the matter now, but I think honorable members realize that, make what haste we may, a considerable time must elapse before any legislative enactment will be given effect to in the erection of a Federal Capital. A considerable period must be taken up in negotiations of one sort and another; but I would not be one to delay, even for a day, the selection of a site. It is not our own convenience, or the immediate requirements of to-day, that we have to consider. We have to consider the future of Australia, and to do that, a few essentials must be taken into account. I do not think for a moment that the Capital city will ever rival or out-pace the present commercial centres. It may become a centre of population ; we do not know what developments there may be in the future. We must, however, consider, first of all, water supply and climatic conditions, and if these are satisfactory, ascertain whether there is a possibility of increased settlement and production. For the reasons I have given I have no hesitation in saying that I shall give my vote for the Tooma site.

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