NORTHERN SEPARATION MEMORIAL.
To Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria,
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain und Ireland, etc., &c.
The humble petition of the undersigned in
habitant householders, and inhabitants of Your Majesty's colony of Queensland, north of Dawes Range.
Sheweth:-1. That your petitioners pray your Most Gracious Majesty to form the North- ern portion of Queensland into a separate colony.
2. That the vast extent of the present colony of Queensland, comprising an area of about 670,000 square miles, with a seaboard of about 2250 miles, and extending from about latitude 29 to latitude 10.44 south, and from the 153rd to the 13eth degree of east longitude, presents insuperable difficulties to the effective governing of the whole from a capital situated as Brisbane is, almost at the extreme southern boundary ; and that the want of regular communication between the capital and the northern settlements renders good government and tbe administration of justice very difllcult and uncertain.
3. That in consequence of the population in- creasing and extending northwards and west- wards, the inconvenience of governing from the present capital has been made every day more apparent.
4. That the population of the colony, accord- ing to the last census of the Queensland Go- vernment, taken on the 2nd March, 1868, was then 99,901, of which number about one-fourth were resident north of the 25th parallel of lati-
5. That the population north of that chain of mountains called Dawes Range, by the last cen- sus was 24,000 odd, and of these over 16,000 were males. At present, owing to the attraction of new gold and copper fields northward, the population cannot be less than 27,000 souls. The total population of the territory' now in- cluded in Queensland was, in 1851, 8575 ; in 1856 (three years before separation), 16,907 ; and on Separation Day (December 10, 1860), 28,056. At the time the agitation began in Moreton Bay, the population was smaller than that now north of Dawes Range : and it may fairly be anticipated, taking into ac- count the large area under pastoral settle- ment, the great mineral wealth of the north, the rapid progress of sugar cultivation, and of other agricultural products, that in a year or two the population north of Dawes Range will exceed 30,000-a point Queensland did not reach until fifteen months after Separation
from New South Wales.
6. That the revenues collected in that part of the colony north of Dawes Runge is now larger than that of Queensland at the time of Separation from New South Wales, and that that revenue is rapidly increasing, will be proved by reference to appendix A. The net cash receipts for the whole colony were in 1868, £727,855. The proportion contributed by the North was over one-third, or about £250,000. The manner in which this large sum has been expended by the Assembly in which the capital and districts immediately around it are reprcesented by more members than the whole of tho North-will be seon by referring to ap- pendix B. That tho North is now, both as re- gards revenue and trade, in a better position to begin independent political life than Queens- land at the time of Separation, will be seen by reference to appendix C,-which
shows the Customs Revenue for the
whole colony during the first year of its exist- ence, the share contributed by tbe North during that year, and the Customs Revenue collected in the North during the first six months of this yeer. That trade and revenue will increase still moro rapidly, cannot be doubted by those who know the extent of the new gold-fields discovered at the Cape River, at the Gilbert, and the Cloncurry, the number of new copper mines that have lately been opened to develope their wealth. The great distance of all these gold and copper mines from the capital, and the little interest felt in them there, is at present a great bar to their proper development.
7. That the result of fixing the seat of Go- vernment in the southern extremity of the colony in the Moreton Bay district, where at the time of Separation the population was chiefly located, has been to give a preponder- ance of representation to that district, main- tained to the great injury of the rest of the colony to this day, and to induce a consequent unjust expenditure of the general revenue of the colony for tbe benefit of the southern district.
8. That the injustice pressed so severely upon your petitioners, that in May, 1863, a protest was made by them against the consolidated revenue of the colony being pledged by the Queensland Government to secure the re-pay ment of loans then about to be raised for carry- ing on public works chiefly for the benefit of the southern districts, until adequate Parliamentary representation had been secured to the districts lying north of the 25th parallel of latitude, which districts were then practically unrepre- sented in the Legislative Assembly of the Queensland Parliament : that notwithstanding this protest, extended representation was with- held until the projected loans were authorised by the Parliament, thereby imposing on those unrepresented districts taxation without repre- sentation, and forcing on them a liability to pay a share of loans contracted against their will, and not of general advantage to the colony. Since that time, your petitioners have applied, through their representatives, to the Queens
land Parliament for a settlement of accounts
between the northern and southern portions of the colony, for increased representation, and for the establishment of Provincial Councils with a view to apportion the expenditure to the several districts in just proportion to their con- tribution to the revenue, and to transfer from the general Government to local bodies ad- ministrative functions for local objects : nor have your petitioners appealed to your Majesty for separation till they have exhausted all consti- tutional means of redress. But your petitioners regret to say that not only have all their efforts, both in and out of the Queensland Parliament, entirely failed in procuring any such measure of justice (as we feel sure your Majesty would wish to extend to all your subjects), but their efforts have, as a rule, been treated with con tempt. The people of the Kennedy electorate, despairing of obtaining any justice from the Queensland Parliament, have elected the Hon. John Bright (a member of your Majesty's Go- vernment) as their representative. A measure of local government has also been re- fused by the Parliament during the last session, and administrative powers pos- sessed by local bodies in the United Kingdom for the construction of roads, hospitals, asylums, reformatories, and other local works, are still retained by the Parliament of Queensland to the great injury of the remote districts of the colony,-Parliament thus con- centrating in itself all legislative and all admin- istrativo powers, and unopposed by the whole- some checks of local administrative bodies, such as exist in the United Kingdom, is practically resistless, and has become to Northern Queens- land an instrument of oppression and wrong- doing.
9. That the enormous distance of several
northern electorates from the present remote and inconveniently situated capital, has created a difficulty in finding representatives willing to attend in their places in Parliament, to the com- plete ruin of their private interests. The diff- cully is enhanced by the fact that almost all the inhabitants of tbe remote and newly settled dis- tricts are occupied in pursuits requiring their constant personal car and supervision.
10. That your petitioners, influenced by the foregoing considerations, humbly pray that your Majesty will graciously grant a separation of tbe northern portion of the colony of Queens- land from the south, and that the boundaries of the proposed new colony should be, until such time as further subdivision be necessary, on the south from a point on the seaboard due east of the easterly end of Dawes Range to the nearest point of that range ; thence along that range to Mount Prospect at its western end |
thence along a line due west of Mount Pro- spect to the western boundary of Queensland (138 degrees of east longitude), and thence by that meridian to the Gulf of Carpentaria, thence by tho north eastern and eastern sea board to the point of commencement. That the proposed southern boundary at Dawes Range naturally separates the northern from the southern districts is proved by the words of the late eminent surveyor, Sir Thomas Mitchell, who, in his expedition into tropical Australia, page 430, says, in speaking of this range - " Where Nature has set up her own land marks not to be disputed , " that the watershed the basin of the Fitzroy River to the north of the Range comprises an area equal in extent to that of England, and belongs by its natural position
and the channels of trade to the North.
11 That the portion of the colony proposed to be separated might from its great extent, render a further subdivision necessary, as ap pears to have been provided for in the Act of the Imperial Parliament 13 and 14 Vic chap x11, in which it is declared-" That it shall be lawful for Her Majesty from time to time, upon the petition of the inhabitant householders of any such of the territories in the said recited provise mentioned as lie northward of tho 30th degree of south latitude to detach such territories from the colony of New South Wales, and to erect such territories into a separate colony or colonies, and to include the same in any colony or colonies to be established under the power of the last mentioned Act " That after such sepa ration the colony of Queensland would com prise an area of over 200 000 square miles, and exceeding three times that of your Majesty's colony of Victoria.
That as a tribute of loyalty to the Throne and attachment to your most gracious Majesty's person, in token of sympathy, and as a memo rial in honor of one whose name is enshrined in
the hearts of all British subjects, your pe titiioners pray that the new colony should be
called " Albertland "
13 That your petitioners humbly pray that your Majesty would bo graciously pleased to grant to the separated districts responsible Government, and a constitution similar to that granted to your Majesty's colony of Queens land, but embodying a system of provincial or district councils, 'which, by separating local from general expenditure, and by keeping separate accounts, would secure to your petitioners the advantage of local self government, the control of local revenue, effectually prevent the expen diture by the Government of public money on any but national works, and check the undue centralization of all legislative functions in the Parliament and general Government of the
14 That in view of the probability of future subdivision, your petitioners do not recommend any locality as tho seat of Government, desiring that this point should be decided by a commis sion appointed by your Majesty
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray_