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2 corrections, most recently by MissConnie - Show corrections

THE MAYOR'S OPENING ADDRES.  

In his opening address, the MAYOR said :-" Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,-We are assembled here to-day to celebrate the opening of this hall in commemoration of the centenary of the colony, and from which it takes its name-Centennial Hall. The cause that led to the settlement of the colony was the disruption of the United States from British rule, which States had been up to then the outlet for the criminal population of Great Britain and Ireland sen- tenced to transportation. For a short time these criminals had been sent to Africa; but the climate was so unhealthy that it had to be stopped. ' As the gaols were becoming crowded with criminals, it was seen to be desirable to find out some opening for this class, and as Captain Cook's then recent dis-   coveries pointed to an outlet, it was determined to send a number of convicts to form a settlement at Botany Bay on the east coast of Australia. Accord- ingly, a fleet of 11 was assembled at Portsmouth, in March, 1787. On board were 600 male and 260 female convicts, with a guard of 40 officers, 168 soldiers, 40 women (the wives of some of the marines), together with their children. Of the convicts, 40 died on the passage, The others arrived in Botany Bay on January 20,1788. Botany Bay was found unsuitable, and it was deter- mined to see if a better port could not be found. What had been noted by Cook as Best Harbour was dis- covered, and Harvey brought the fleet round there. On 26th January, 1788, he hoisted the British colours there and read the Royal proclamation and (?)...eston(?) contituting the colony of New South Wales. The party landed consisted of 1030 souls. As Illuminating the progress the country has made I may quote the following figures: -In 1788 there were

in Australia 7 horses, 29 sheep, 74 swine,   6 rabbits, 7 cattle: and the white population of the whole country was 1030. In 1888 Australia owned

1,501,203 horses, of which New South Wales possessed   411,368; 96,487,811 sheep, New South Wales owning 46,503,469; cattle, 9,248,949, New South Wales being   credited with 1,622,907 ; 1,136,683 swine, our share boing 248,583; while the population had increased to 3,672,803,

1,085,740 being within the borders of this colony.   The Hon. James Service, of Victoria, has predicted that Australia will at tho end of 30 years contain a population of 20,000,000. Mr. Havter estimates that, in 1901 Australia will hold 5,678,029 people ; in 1950, 32,782,290; and in 2001, 189,269,663. . The railways of Australia extended for 10,431 miles,

those of New South Wales being 2206 miles. We have 51 miles of tramwavs, and 22,214 miles of tele- graphs out of 76,358 owned by Australia. We have 3106 manufactories, cmplopng 45,564 hands, and there are 1,048,305 acres under cultivation. That is the progress we have made during a hundred years. As the head of our municipal government, I may be allowed to say something of the progress here. The City of Sydney was incorporated by Act of Par- liament bearing date Julv 2?th, 1842. The city of Melbourne was also incorporated by an Act bearing the date of August 12th 1842, in fact both bills were almost similar as far as powers are concerned. The first elec- tion under the new Act took place on November 1, 1842. The city was then divided into six wards, each ward returning four representatives. For these seats there were 49 candidates. The first meeting of the newly-elected councillors was held at the Royal Hotel on the 4th of November, to discuss the question of a permanent meeting-place, and at noon on the 9th of the month they held their first legal meeting in the market shed A for the purpose of electing the aldermen and the Mayor. According to the Act, the councillors had the power of electing six alder- men outside of their body, and it was thought by the citizens thev would do so. However, they did not do so, but elected six from their own body.   The aldermen elected were Messrs. John Hosking, George Allen, J. R. Wilshire, Robert Owen, Thomas Broughton, and Francis Mitchell. Mr. John Hosking was the first Mayor, and Mr. Chambers the first town clerk. The council rented premises in York-street on the site of the Freemason's Hotel, but as this place had to be fitted up they held their meetings in the meantime at the Royal Hotel. The council afterwards removed to King-street, opposite St. James's Church, where they remained for a short time. They then re- moved to a house on the east side of Wynyard-square. From there they went to the other side of Wynyard- square, where they remained until they came to the Town Hall. In 1843, the council, as soon as the Mayor had issued the first financial statement that the probable income was £20,000 per annum, determined to spend £5000 upon a Town Hall. They advertised for tenders, but the rate-

payers protested against money being spent in this way. The city at this time is described as being in a most de- plorable state. There were bad roads, worse foothpaths. and garbage everywhere. In 1853 an Act was passed sweeping away the corporation and appointing three Commissioners. In a very short time-about three yean-an Act was passed doing away with them and re-establishing the council. The newly-elected council consitted of 16 aldermen, representing eight wards. They held a piece of land, which had been granted to them in Bent-street for a site for a town hall, and Mr. Edward Bell. C.S., was instructed to prepare plans for a hall 120ft. by 60ft., to cost £12,000. The plans were approved in 1858 bv the council  

It was afterwards considered that neither the site nor the building would be suitable, and the land was sold. In 1869 an Act was passed giving the council three quarters of an acre of the old burial ground-or, as it was

then known, the Cathedral Close. Designs were in- vited for a building not to exceed £26,000 in cost. Seventeen were sent in, but, as the lowest would have cost £36,000 if carried out, all were rejected. Fresh designs were invited for a structure which was not to cost more than £35,000 ; and premiums of £300, £100, and £50 were offered. Twenty designs were then sent to, and Mr. J. H. Wilson received the highest premium. The Hon. Charles Moore (then Mayor), the Hon. John Macintosh, and some of the aldermen caused a modification of Mr. Wilson's design. The Duke of Edinburgh laid the foundation stone of the administrative part of the building. A portion of the work was carried out under Mr. Wilson's supervision. The late Mr. Thomas Bradridge, in conjunction with his brother, Mr. Edward Bradridge, after the death of   Mr. Wilson, carried out the building to its completion. They also designed and carried out the tower. Mr. A. Bond was Mr. Thomas Bradridge's successor, and he finished the vestibule. After Mr. Bond resigned, Mr. D. M Boath was appointed. He designed a hall on this present site, and, under his direction, the foundation was built, but the carrying out of this work resulted in a Supreme Court case. Mr. Sapeford then became the city architect, and he was instructed  

to prepare designs. Accordingly, at his request, I instructed advertisements to be issued for a draftsman. After a trial of two or three we succeeded in obtaining the services of Mr. John Francis Hennesey, a  

medalist, who had gained the prize silver medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects. His first design was on the original area, but the aldermen determined to occupy the whole space available. He then designed the present structure, and I feel not a little proud that it was during my mayoralty that it was designed, and that I had the appointment of the designer. Mr. Hennessey waa appointed by the council consulting architect to advise the city architect from time to time. Professor Warren had to design the girders and roof. The building has been supervised by Mr. George McRae, city architect, and he was ably assisted by Mr. Nancarrow, the best clerk of works of the day. Since his death Mr. Tough has assisted. The contractors are Messrs. Stuart and Harrison. It would be needless for me to say anything about them. Their work speaks for itself. During my term of office they have shown a great anxiety to do their work well, and to finish it as quickly as possible. It may be thought that some of the aldermen were extravagant in their ideas when they accepted the plans of this hall. I myself have heard people say we have gone too far in spending so much monev ; but, ladies and gentlemen, it mnst be remembered that the building in which we are now assembled has not been erected for the require- ments of to-dav, but of future generations. As a city we occupy a third position among the cities of Great Britain, and it is, I think, a proper ambition for us to  

have the largest town hall in the world. We have been ridiculed, too, as a council for obtaining the largest organ in the world; but here again, I say, with our rapidly-increasing population and revenue, and the knowledge that our city must become the London of the Southern seas, the ambition is a laudable one. I will now read to you a comparison of the sizes of the largest town halls, so that you will be able to compare them with this. The Centennial hall measures    

186ft x 85ft. ; the Melbourne Hall, 147ft x72ft.; the Preston Town Hall. 147«. x 95ft. ; the Glasgow Public Hall, 185ft. x 75ft.; St. George's Hall, Liverpool, 169ft x 75ft. ; the Philharmonie: Hall, Liverpool, 135ft. x 102ft. ; St. George's Hall. Bradford, 152ft.   x 76ft ; the Surrey Music Hall, 152ft. x 75ft. ;  

the Leeds Town Hall. 162ft. x 71ft.: the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. 135ft. x 78ft. ; the Exeter Hall, London, 133ft. x 77ft. ; the City Hall, Chicago, 160ft. x 64ft. ; St Martin's Hall, Long Acre, London, 121ft. x 71ft.; the Birmingham Town Hall, 130ft. x 65ft. ; the Manchester Town Hall, 100ft. x 50ft.; and the House of Lords, Westminster, 90ft. x 45ft. The  

foundation-stone of this hall was laid on the 13th of

November, 1883, by my late wife, and the topstone was

laid at the commencement of this year by my daughter. In concluding 1 must say that I am deeply proud that this magnificent building has been erected and com-   pleted during the terms ot my mayoralty. (Cheers.)

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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