Cost of the Undertaking.
Officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria are enthusiastically taking up the suggestion made in these columns yesterday that the main road to Sydney should be made fit for the Prince of Wales to go overland by motor from Melbourne. The secretary (Captain Wright) says that the club will support the proposal whole-heartedly. He points out that the task of making a first- class route of the Melbourne to Sydney main road would be more than a handsome compliment to the Prince of Wales. Once accomplished, it would be a permanent and valuable asset to the Commonwealth.
Probably many people will be surprised to hear that the overland route to Sydney, though one of the oldest main roads in Aus- tralia, is here and there hardly recognis- able as more than a track, in following which the traveller has to thread his way around trees and depressions. On the other hand, there are long stretches of this highway of 565 miles which are first- class. If, on the spur of the Prince's visit, it can be made uniformly good, Aus- tralia will in the future be as proud of the achievement as is Melbourne of the Prince's Bridge approach, which replaced what was practically a rubbish tip in pre- paration for the visit of the present
No better means could be provided for His Royal Highness to see something of the interior and its characteristics than the proposed overland drive between Mel- bourne and Sydney. Thousands of people too, would thus be given an opportunity of welcoming him who would otherwise see nothing of him. It may be believed from the Prince's enjoyment of camping and open-air life in Canada, that the freedom of a journey of this kind would appeal to him very much more than being cooped in a railway carriage. A suggestion has already been made that a diversion from the main road should be planned to in- clude Yass-Canberra, the Federal Capital site. On such lines, and to provide ample time for a pleasant run through, five or six days should be allowed for the trip. It would then, of course, be necessary to have accommodation. Captain Wright says this difficulty could be overcome by the Automobile clubs, which could undertake
to provide camps en route by forming caval- cades of motor-cars. Such an idea would probably make a strong appeal to His Highness.
It is easy to find support for the scheme on grounds of practical utility. Farmers are increasingly buying cars, partly be- cause they are anxious to be independent of horses in times of drought. Indeed, 65 per cent. of the motor-cars now on order in Australia are stated to be going to county districts. From the point of view of defence, it is obviously desirable to have a first-class main road connecting the two principal cities of tile Commonwealth. This argument applies the more strongly when it is remembered that there is not uniformity of gauge over the railway routes
of the two States.
The first 60 miles of the road, between Melbourne and Seymour, are in excellent condition, as is also the stretch between Chiltern and Barnawartha. The worst section in Victoria is between Seymour and Benalla (about 60 miles), and in New South Wales, between Holbrook and Upper Tarcutta, a distance of 34 miles. The last 50 miles into Sydney is also bad. In these sections there are stretches of road which are unmetalled, poorly formed,
Should this great venture be undertaken —and it could be completed before the Prince arrives—the co-operation of settlers and municipalities along the route will he essential to its success. Possibly early efforts will be taken by the Automobile Club to secure their support. The scheme may even be regarded as the first step towards the realisation of the wider project to open a great "Anzac Highway" con- necting Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and
The Financial Aspect.
Some five years ago, control of the Vic- torian portion of the Melbourne-Sydney main road was vested in the Country Roads Board. This body halves the expenses of its maintenance work with the shire coun- cil immediately concerned. The chairman of the board (Mr. William Calder) says that difficulty would arise in reconstruct- ing certain sections of the road which do not interest any particular body of rate- payers. The improvement of such sections could hardly he regarded as a develop- mental "proposition". He thinks it likely that the road could be made moderately good for motor traffic for an expenditure of £20,000 or £30,000, but that if metal- ling were undertaken, an expenditure of £250,000 might be required.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir—The suggestion in "The Argus" that the Prince of Wales travel by motor- car between the two State capitals should be enthusiastically supported. The ad- vantages which would arise from such an arrangement are really so obvious that they need not be enumerated. The people on the route chosen can be relied upon to organise working bees and, under the direction of shire engineers, would quickly remove the weak links in tlie existing chain of roads between Sydney and Melbourne. The self reliance, which we claim Aus- tralians possess, can be further demon- strated to the world, if the foreign press, reporting the future King's visit to Aus- tralia, disclose that, in three months, our people made good a 500-mile route for the future King to traverse. Why not ask our Royal guest to name the route "The Anzac Highway," and so create a per- petual monument to the men he learned to know during the days of the Empire's trial?—Yours, &c., H.W.H.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir—The proposal that arrangements be made to enable the Prince of Wales to motor between Melbourne and Sydney is an excellent one. It is only right that the men, women, and children situated in country districts, somewhat isolated and without convenient railway communica- tion, should be so given an opportunity of greeting the future head of the Empire. On the other hand, the Royal visitor would gain a clearer insight into the conditions prevailing in our depopulated lands, and he, no doubt, would be impressed con- cerning the need for conserving to the Dominions future emigrants from Great Britain. A journey by road will give him far greater facilities for seeing Australia as it is. It is to be hoped that your sug- gestion will be upheld in every quarter, and the Government should quickly de- termine whether the future King should travel via the central route, or by the south coast route, so that the local shires could at once make the necessary pre- parations.-Yours, &c.,
"SEE AUSTRALIA FIRST."