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PROPOSED RAILWAY FROM SYDNEY TO THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY.
The following is the Herald's full report of what was said in the house on Tuesday last about Mr. Stewart's railway scheme :
Mr.'R. STEWART moved :-" 1. That it was the opinion of this hange that Bteps should be taken to ascertain the distance and the best practicable route for a line of railway from Syd- ney to the Great Northern Railway. 2. That the foregoing resolution be communicated by address to his Excellency the Governor." He was hardly prepared to go on with this motion 1 at the present time, but he thought the motion
carried with it sufficient evidence of the neces- sity for some such steps being taken as were therein suggested. The fact of oar having a i divided railway system was sufficient to justify
some steps being taken, to ascertain whether communication between Sydney and the Great Northern Railway oould not be obtained at a 'moderate rate. If such a railway were ! constructed, it would be found the . most valuable portion that we had.
, It might be said that we had water communion j tion with the Northern part of the colony ; bat the fact was that while the greater portion of ¡the colony lay to the northward of Sydney, we ;were as effectually separated therefrom as France from England. And the rates of freight between Newcastle and Sydney were the same as between Sydney and Melbourne. Any per 'son who looked forward to railway extension eouldhave it only by extension from one centre, so that the extension might be uniform through- out.' "His own idea was that we should construct »branch line from Sydney to meet the Great Northern Railway about Maitland. There w?s a fine country to go through, the expense of construction would not be great, and with the exception, of the Hawkesbury River (which was not so serious an obstacle as the Nepean) there ¡were no great obstructions to encounter. There was a bridle track from here to Brisbane Water, which would probably be struck, and after cross- ing the Hawkesbury River, there was a splendid
tract of country which was now shut up and j
almost unknown. There was a piece of Jand near Lake Macquarie which was equal to any part of our ooast north or south, and he be- lieved this railway would pass through it before reaching the Hunter River. He should like to see our railways carried on economically, but at present they were most extravagantly worked, and were supported from the general funds of the country. This state of things could only be changed when we extended our lines and seoured an amount of traffic equal to our expenses. He was not aware that the expense of doing what he now required would be great. He presumed that an examination could be made of the country, ana the probable obstructions likely to be con- tended with, all of which he believed existed within twenty-five miles of Sydney. It would then be for the House to say whether it wotfd be desirable, having incurred a debt of seven or eight millions, to increase that debt by another million more io order to carry out this line. He was confident this would be one of the best pay- ing portions of railway in the colony. He begged
to move his motion.
Dr. LAN« seconded the motion.
The SPEAKER said the form of putting the motion before the house would be objectionable if tue expenditure to be incurred had not been provided for by the house.
Mr, SUTHERLAND Bald there was no money provided for this purpose.
Mr. R. STEWART said if the Government had no money at their disposal, of course that objec-
tion would be fatal.
, Dr. LANG agreed that this was one of those schemes which would come into operation at a future time, but whether it would be advisable to employ funds in the construction of sueh a 'railway as the bon. member proposes, instead of
carryingióáecihfe three great-trannies-érAhtf ootony,jíaa/Arinatte*:ef-doubt.»~-He bad-heard" of the tract pf land the bon. member had alluded to. It lay;oto the westward of Lake Macquarie, and ^between the Hawkesbury and Hunter Rivers^ % It was of considerable extent, but very little known ; but whether it would be desirable to incur so large an expenditure to bring that portion of territory into use was very questionable indeed. Besides, he thought we could not afford this expenditure under the pre- sent circumstances of the colony ; and he thought as far as water'communication could be made available it should be used, and the railways start from the heads of the navigation. He hoped the hon. member would withdraw his
Mr. LUCAS did not think there was any pro- bability of this work being carried out for years to come. It was difficult to find money to open up the interior of the oountry, without carrying railways along the coast. The freight by the steamers to Newcastle now was something like 20s. per ton ; and if this railway were made they wonld not be reduced, for the railway charges would be about 26s. per ton. People would not send goods by the railway under such circumstances, but would continue to use the steamers. He suggested that the bon member should withdraw his motion ; for he was sure, if a division were called, the hon. member would vote by himself.
Mr TIGHE said there were many persons who always appeared desirous, by all means in their power, to take away the trade from Newcastle and bring it to Sydney, but the mover and seconder of the motion before the house had, so far as could be judged from their actions, shown no desire to do that. The question was an im- portant one, and the Government ought to ex- press some opinion upon it. It was only fair to the house and to the country that the Govern- ment should express their opinion on the question, and say whether they were in favor of
the motion or not. If the Government were in favor of it, then it would be the duty of bon. members to make themselves acquainted with arguments either in favor of or against any pro- ceedings of the kind. He did not know why the Government were silent. [Mr. ROBERT- SON : We are not silent ; we have not had a chance of speaking 3 He (Mr. Tighe) was merely remarking that it was rather peculiar that no member of the Govern- ment had thought proper to address the house on this matter. He did not know whether the G overnment had got the mover to bring forward this motion as a feeler, and intended if they found the house likely to approve of the scheme, to come down with a resolution to deal with the matter. They found the hon. Premier himself stating that it was part of his policy to do away with the postage charge on newspapers. And then they found an hon. member, who was sup- posed to be a friend of the Government, bringing forward a motion to try the feeling of the house in regard to the construction of a railway between Sydney and Newcastle. The fact of his (Mr. Tighe) being the fourth hon member who had addressed the house on the motion, without any member of the Government having risen to speak, did at any rate give room for suspicion that they were endeavouring to find out first whether the house would be likely to approve of the proposition, before they expressed their" opinions in regard to it. They, were told that Newcastle was as far from Syd- ney as Paris from London. The fact was, a person might travel from Newcastle to Sydney in six or eight hours ; and for the sake of mak- ing the journey an hour or two shorter, the bon. member for East Sydney (Mr Stewart) recom- mended the expenditure of no less a sam than a million of money, for the purpose of competing with the water-carriage. They had been abused frequently for having constructed a railway to compete with the Parramatta River and other navigable rivers And if the construction of the Parramatta railway .was absurd on that ac- count, how much more absurd it must be for for them to think of expending a million of money to compete with the great ocean. Goods might be brought from Newcastle to Sydney for a much less sum than they could be brought by a railway, if one were constructed. He thought the bon. mover would not say it was possible to construct a railway by which goods could be brought down from Newcastle for less than 5s. per ton, the price which was now paid. And the reason which the hon. mover had advanced in favour of the motion was, that the present railways were not paying 4 per cent, on the outlay ; and yet he invited the House to expend a million of money in the construction of a railway that would be of no benefit to the country. He did not think the Government were foolish enough as to wish to spend such an amount of money for such a purpose ; if they did, he did not think the House would consent to allow them to do it, especially when it was remembered that thousands upon thousands of pounds had been spent, and were being spent, in the deepening of
the Newcastle Harbour. What was the use of the thousands, he might almost say millions, that had been spent for that purpose, if by one fell swoop they were to make the improvements which had been made, perfectly useless.
Mr. CUMMINGS said the country had now arrived at a period when its debt was somewhere about £10,000,000. The income was not sufficient to meet the expenditure. And it was now time for the Government to find out from what source they could obtain revenue to meet their present liabilities before they involved the country further in debt. That was at present the great consideration for the House. With regard to the extension of railways, he thought if the people could bear additional taxation for that purpose, the money ought to be spent in the extension of three trunk lines now in hand. It was the construction of railways, into the interior, especially into the agricultural districts, that would make this a great and prosperous country. If the Western line was once com- pleted to a given point, the income from it would be far superior to that derived from the other two lines. He should like to see railways extended in such a way that the cultivation of sugar and breadstuff's would be stimulated, and then we might expect to see this oountry become great and prosperous.
Mr. SUTHERLAND, with regard to the remarks that the Government had been exceedingly re- ticent in reference to this motion, stated that he had already told hon, members that there was no money available for the purpose of making such a survey as was now asked for. He had understood Mr. Speaker to rule the motion out of order, and that was the reason that he did not proceed. This motion required the Government to ascertain the distance and the best praotical route for a line of railway from Sydney to the Great Northern Railway. This work would necessi- tate the expenditure of about £1000, and the Government was not prepared to spend this sum upon this work at the present time. With re- gard to the remarks of the hon. member for Northumberland, that this motion was put for- ward as a feeler for the -Government, he (Mr. Sutherland) had not spoken to the mover since the motion was put upon the paper. The hon. member had moved in the matter without any communication from the Government. He believed that some petition for a railway in the direction now sought was laid before the house some time ago. Many people believed that a line to the north would be of great advantage ; he did not think so ; be believed it would not pay, or at least not in the lifetime of the present generation.
Mr. BURNS thought the hon. gentleman who had just sat down was miptaken in supposing that a petition for opening a line to the north had been laid before Parliament; he had never heard of any. The distance between Sydney and the Great-ííorthern Railway was between seventy and eighty miles, and the oharges for carriage by water were so low that a line of railway could nofrpossibly pómpete with the steamers. The freight from Sydney to Morpeth was about 7s. or 8s. per ton, and from Morpeth to Sydney about 15s. per ton. There was no doubt that the construction of a line of railway from Newcastle to Maitland, and from Sydney to Parramatta, was a mistake, as in both cases the line bad to compete with steamers. He had always thought that a line of railway ought to commence at the termination of the river navi- gation. It would be far better if, instead of car- rying oct the proposed survey, a trial survey were carried out between Murrurundi and Tam- worth. [Mr. HOSKINS : The money has already been voted.] [Mr. ROBERTSON : Hear, hear.j If this motion were pressed to a division he. should rote against it.
Mr. ROBERTSON was somewhat surprised at the remarks of the hon. member for Northum- berland, in imputing unworthy motives to the hon. member for East Sydney in moving this motion. The bon. member openly charged that hon. member (Mr. Stewart) with bringing this motion forward at the instance of the Govern- ment as a feeler. He could understand the hon. member doing this from his past course of conduct in this house- ÏÎ thejre was one hon.
«n*nrber-swlio--t)Ught-to be- öaTefulnn ohlfging "another honrinemberwith^bgitig m1fiie~a fool of on railway matters it wai that hon. member, as it was that hon. member who, through being made a tool of, saved the late Government from a vote of censure on their railway policy. (Hear, hear). So far from the Government being favourable to this motion, it was he (Mr. Robertson) who suggested that it should not be taken without discussion ; and they intended to vote against it. With regard to the motion of the hon. member for Shoalhaven, in reference to the newspaper postage, it did not meet with his (Mr Robertson's) approval. The Government had stated boldly that it was their intention in I this tail-end of the session of'1868 to obtain
legal sanction to the publio expenditure, and
leave all other matters to- be dealt with in the session proper for 1869. (Hear, hear).
Mr. TIGHE, havÎDg been misrepresented, desired to say a word in explanation. He did not accuse the mover of this motion of being the tool of the Government. What he did say was that it was supposed that the policy of the Government was to induce hon. members to put forward propositions to find out the opinion of the house, and then to go on with the business ; and that the remarkable silence of the members of the Government on this motion seemed to
encourage the notion that such was the policy -of the Government. He never said that the bon. member for East Sydney was moved by the Government to move this motion. [Mr. RO- BERTSON : What about the feelers?] [Mr. SAMUEL: Hear, hear.] He said it was the policy of the Government to put forward feelers, to ascertain the opinion of the house. If hon. members opposite (if he might be allowed to use the expression) would not set on one like a lot of terriers, he should be able to make his explanation.
Mr. ROBERTSON would take the opinion of Mr. Speaker whether the hon. member was in order in comparing- hon. members to a lot of terriers when making a personal explanation.
Mr. SPEAKER thought it was desirable that these personal explanations should not extend to any great length.
Mr. TIGHE only desired to say that the hon. gentleman opposite had falsely accused him of having said that the hon. member for East Syd- ney was put up as a feeler for the Government.
Mr. GARRETT said the charges made against him by the hon. member who had just Bat down were unfair, unjust, and untrue. With regard to his motion on the newspaper postage tar, he had
received little else than abuse from the Govern- ment for putting it on the paper. He put it on the paper because he was dissatisfied with the answer given to a question as-to whether the Government intended to bring in a bill this ses- sion to abolish the newspaper postage tax "With regard to the reason for its postponement, perhaps
it would suit the hon. member to have it dis- cussed in this thin house, but it would not suit him (Mr. Garrett ) When he did bring it for-, ward, he should have some ground to stand upon.
Mr. ISAACS thought the hon. member who had just sat down should not be distressed at the abuse he received from the Government, but re- member that " the quarrels of lovers were bles-
sings in disguise." (Laughter.) ,
Mr. STEWART, in reply, said the resolution did not present any such alarming feature as that spoken of by some hon. members. His desire was to get the opinion of the House in regard to ascertaining the character of the country to be passed through. In England the railways ran to the seaports, and yet the tonnage of shipping had increased. In some places it had doubled. He believed a railway between Sydney and the Hunter would very much improve the Hunter district. He would not, however, be willing to incur any enormous expense to carry out such a work. If the House would consent to the withdrawal of this motion, he would withdraw it. It was not worth while putting the House to the trouble of a division when
there appeared to be no feeling in favour of the
Leave was granted, and the motion was with-