Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 3 August 1904

Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume) -More in explanation than anything else, I desire to say a few words bearing upon the long speech just delivered by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, in which the honorable gentleman has scattered about a great many statements. The honorable gentleman has said that I made an attack upon the late Mr. Oliver. ' He told me beforehand, privately, that he intended to make those remarks, and I told him that such a statement was not true or fair, because what I said last night, in reference to the late Mr. Oliver, was but a repetition of what I said last session. All I said was that I regretted that Mr. Oliver had issued his second re- . port, which appeared to me to be a petulant criticism upon the report of the Commission.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - De mortuis nil nisi bonum

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is not my intention to say anything ill, but I have no desire that what I have said should be wrongly interpreted. I also said I did not think that the late Mr. Oliver would have written the second report had he at the time enjoyed the robust health which I knew him to possess for the greater part of the time during which I was acquainted with him. The general comment at the time was that it was rather a scolding report. I thought that the late Mr. Oliver had been very unwise in writing it, and that is what I said last night. I made no attack upon that gentleman, whom I held in the highest respect. I should not have selected him to make the first investigation of the sites suggested for the Federal Capital if I had not had a very high opinion' of him. In regard to the other statement made by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that I had accused the late Mr. Oliver of having made mistakes, what I said was that he had not gone to the heads of Departments to obtain the best officers to assist him. I said that he had taken certain officers who, I was told by the heads of the Departments, were not the best for the purpose, and in consequence of his not having secured the assistance of the best officers, recommendations were made to him which caused him to fall into error. I do not think that one word which I uttered can be construed into an attack upon the late Mr. Oliver, whom I knew for twentyfive years, and whom I held in the highest esteem until the day of his death. But in issuing his second report he made a mistake; I regretted it at the time. I said so last night, and I say so again now. There can be no doubt whatever that, so far as his lights went, and on the information placed before him, the first report submitted by the late Mr. Oliver was a very able document. I wish now merely to deny the accusation that I made any attack upon him, as I should not think of doing anything of the kind.

Mr. KENNEDY(Moira).- I have one remark to make with reference to the criticism- passed by the honorable member for, Eden-Monaro upon my speech. The first statement was that the country in and around Dalgety was forest country. In the course of my remarks I quoted from the Commissioners' report, which, 1 said, confirmed my own observation - which confirmed my personal observation of twenty years ago. I will repeat the quotation which I made from the Commissioners' report in regard to the situation of the Dalgety site -

The greater part of the area consists of undulating treeless country, of similar character to much of the Monaro plains. . . . 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 will nourish.

With regard to the productiveness of the soil, I would again quote the Commissioners -

Some witnesses thought .that the district within a radius of fifty miles of the site could produce all the foodstuffs necessary for a city of 50,000 inhabitants, but others were of opinion that a wider area would have to be drawn on, at least during the winter months, in which view we are disposed to concur.

Those passages of the report bear out the conviction which I hold as the result of personal knowledge of this granite country. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro said that my statement that horses have to be hand-fed there is absurd; but I repeat it as absolutely true in every particular. No sane stockholder in Monaro to-day would buy stock bred in the Riverina district, and attempt to keep it in the Monaro country all through the year. It is true that stock, and particularly young stock, are, in summer time, taken from the Riverina district and western New South .Wales to the hill country ; but no sane man in the Monaro country would buy Riverina stock to fatten there.

Mr Brown - No Riverina man would leave his stock on the Monaro country all the year round.

Mr KENNEDY - No. I also stated that, in November, I took horses bred in Riverina to the Monaro country, and that, in order- to keep them in condition, I had to hand-feed them. I believe that that would be the experience of any man taking horses from Riverina to Monaro at any time of the year, except in the middle of summer, which means practically in the months of January and February.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Where was the animal bred upon which " the man from Snowy River " rode ?

Mr KENNEDY - It is too late to go into that question now, but I think that I am justified in showing that my statements, which have been challenged, relate what are purely hard facts.

Mr Spence - Do not the sheep get footrot up there?

Mr KENNEDY - No. So far as I am aware, there is very little foot-rot in that country.

Suggest corrections