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THE SOUTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.

ME. NEIL MCNEIL'S PICNIC.

An important event to the South-Western districts of the colony was. the running of the first passenger train over the South-Western railway, as far as the bridge over the River Murray, near Pinjarrah. The occasion was a picnic given by Mr. Neil McNeil, one of the contractors for the line, who took advantage of the forward state of the permanent way to give the members of the Ministry and his friends a very pleasant outing. The party, which left the Perth central station at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning, numbered about 70 ladies and gentlemen amongst whom wore -the Premier and Lady Forrest, Mrs. A. Forrest, the Attorney-General and Mrs. Burt, the President ef the Legislative Council and Mrs. Shenton, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Lady Steere, the Commissioner of Public Works, the Colonial Secretary and Mrs. Parker, Mr. and Mrs. Mason, Mr. Wright, M.L.C., Mr. Lloyd Taylor, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Thomas, Mr. W. Patterson, M.L.A., and Mrs. Patterson, Mr. G. Patter- son, Mr. De Hamel, M.L.A., Mr. Richardson, M.L.A., Mr. and Mrs. Anstey, Mr. Atkins, Mr. W. H. Jones, Mr. Gwynn (of MessrB. Bethell, Gwynn & Co.), and a number of equally well-known ladies and gentlemen. It may be stated that the sections over which the train was run, are not quite complete, there is a good deal of ballasting yet to be ' done to make the line equal to the ordinary working strain, and several stations have to be erected. The contract for the sections tra- velled over by the party is up in March, while the the whole line is to be ready according to "contract in June next. The line was com-   menced in December last. It was not without some effort that the two sections were got ready for the excursion train, but thanks to the exertions of Mr. Gibson (overseer for Messrs. McNeil & Co.) who succeeded in lay- ing three and a half miles of rails near Pin- jarrah in about five days, the trip was ren- dered possible. Originally the line from Perth to Pinjarrah formed one contract, but Messrs. Atkins & Law who obtained the con- tract, handed over the later half commencing at the Jarrahdale Junction to Messrs. Neil & Co., who have the making of the line from there to Bunbury. The line to Pinjarrah is of a very easy gradient, the heaviest perhaps being the portion near Perth which is 1 in 75. In a great many parts, the line is absolutely level, and the sharpest curve is about 1 in 30. The line presented very few engineering difficulties, but the number of bridges that were required added greatly to its cost.

On the trip the first point of interest after leaving the East Perth station and branching off on the new line was the Swan Bridge. This has been an expensive and troublesome work to the contractor. The piles, it was specified, were te be sunk about 42ft. below the water level, but when put into position they went down to that depth by their own weight in the soft mud which forms the bed of the river. The piles had then to be driven to depths varying from 85 to 96ft. The bridge is 30 chains in length. After leaving there, the line circles round to the Guildford Road where a station has been erected a little over two miles from the Central Station. Approaching this a magnificent panoramic view of 'Perth Water and the City and occasionally of the river in its several windings was obtained. After leaving the Guildford Road crossing, the line proceeded through beautiful park like lands more or less timbered, and the same kind of country was to be observed the whole way to the Murray Bridge. At present -there is not much visible settlement along the line, but one or two fine estates crop up here and there. One of the finest probably is that of Mr. W. D. Howells, the Wandong estate, about 20 miles from Perth, which occupies

800 or 900 aores. The land as a whole was favourably oommented upon. One of the pleasing features in the rural scenery were the numbers of Christmas trees, their bright orange coloured blossoms setting off in a pleasing manner the various shades of the foliage. The grass was plentiful amd still maintained its spring verdure. The heat of the day was most pleasantly tempered by a breeze created by the train, and the com- forts of the travellers, creature or otherwise,

was well looked after.

The next station to that at the Guild- ford Road was the Canning (7 miles from Perth), fast appoaching completion. There are also to be stations at Kelmscott (15 miles 19 chains) and Narrogin' (19 miles 7 chains). Going along at an easy rate the train reached the Rockingham and Jarrah- dale junction (28 miles 7 chains) the ter- minus end of Messrs. Atkins' and Laws' sec- tion, at a quarter to 11 o'clock. Here a stoppage was made for refreshments, and Mr. W. J. George, Messrs. Neil McNeil and Co's. manager, and also the manager of the Rockingham Jarrahdale Timber Company's line, and who acted as cicerone, distinguished himself by the able way in which he looked after the comfort of the travellers. A glance was taken at the adze and drill- ing machine which was hard at work in preparation of sleepers for the line, and the train proceeded very carefully over the intersection with the Rockingham line. Here a mistake has been made by having the grooves too shallow. The passen- gers having again embarked, the Serpentine station, which is in the course ef erection, was passed at half-past 11. This is a dis-  

tance of 33 miles 67 chains from Perth. Half an hour's steaming brings the train to the ballast pits, where there is quite a large navvies encampment. Not necessarily all the men are employed in the pits, the navvies coming down the line for a number of miles, so that they might enjoy each others company and share the expense of a general cook. In another half hour the train reached Pinjarrah, but only made a slight stoppage, the rendezvous being about five miles farther on, or 57 miles from Perth. The Pinjarrah station will be some distance away from the township, which is partially seen from the line. The Murray bridge was reached at a quarter to one. The bridge consists of 12 spans of 15ft. and three of 40ft., the latter being on trestles. The work is about half finished.

The luncheon was served up in an open pavilion, with a canopy of green leaves, under the supervision of Mr. Turner, of the City Buffet Français. After enjoying a very good repast

Mr. NEIL MCNEIL, as host, in a few humorous remarks, proposed the health of the Ministry, coupled with the name of Sir John Forrest. Sir John, he regarded, as a straightforward honest man, and he hoped he would be Premier for sometime to come. (Hear, hear.)

Sir JOHN FORREST, in responding, said be was pleased to re-visit the Murray and taste its water, which in his opinion, was second to none in Australia. He had used great exertions in order to have this line con- structed, as be was acquainted with the country and knew what it could produce. He sincerely hoped the line would be productive of great good to the country. If the country would not bear the expense of a railway, it was certainly not worth living on. He believed the people would find railways to be cheaper than roads, besides being cheaper tbey would give rapid communication from one part of the colony to another. Now that the railway was built he had no doubt they

would see great changes in Pinjarrah. It  

would be the centre of a fruit-growing dis- trict. He did not believe any part of the colony was more productive in this respect. He wished the district every prosperity it deserved. Tie proposed the toast of their host, Mr. McNeil.

The toast having been enthusiastically drank,

Mr. NEIL MCNEIL responded. He was quite sure that the money expended would be amply repaid and that before long there would be a number of smiling farms along the line. He believed the grapes in Mr. McLarty's vineyard would compare with any in the colony. Mr. Richardson was also to be complimented on his home in the district. He proposed the toast of " the visitors."

Major-General SIM, in responding, said he could hardly be called a visitor as he had been in the colony many years ago. He quite agreed with Sir John Forrest that mod- ern railways were most valuable accessories to a colony.

Mr. LLOYD TAYLER, as one of the oldest colonists of Victoria, expressed his pleasure in visiting the colony. It was his first visit and he had been perfectly amazed, consider- ing its population, at the progress made in the colony. He was also pleased to meet on this side his friend Mr. McNeil, who had proved himself not only capable of carrying out works in Victoria which were highly prized, but had had the enterprise to under- take works thus far afield, to promote the good of another colony. He quite agreed with the remarks that had fallen from Sir John Forrest, that the true way to pro- mote prosperity in a young colony was to develop its railways. The initial cost of railways might be great but it was far less costly in the long run than in opening up the colony by roads. He thought the colony might develop into one of the grandest

colonies of Australasia.

Mr. GWYN of the firm of Bethel, Gwyn & Co. also responded to the toast.

Mr. PATTERSON M.L.A, on being called upon, commented on the favourable rainfall in the district which made it one of the best for agriculture in the colony. He believed by utilising the Murray waters they could establish a first rate irrigation colony in the

district.

Sir JAMES LEE STEERE proposed the toast of the " Ladies " in a humorons »peeoh.

Mr. HACKETT, M.L.C., responded.

Mr. DE HAMEL, ML.A., proposed the health of the workers,to whom the railway was due. It was the start of a great railway that would not stop at Bunbury. It would be the main line between Perth and Brisbane.

(Qld. ) The railway would be extended through Samson's Creek, Albany, and Eucla to the other colonies.

Mr. BAGNALL, the Government Engineer, and Mr. RENNERK, the contractor's engineer, also responded to the toast.

After a short interval, in which several ladies and gentleman had an opportunity of tasting tbe Murray water so extolled by the Premier, the company left on the homeward journey at half-past 4. A stoppage was made at Captain Fawcett's estate before pro- ceeding on to Pinjarrah. Here the visitors had the opportunity of seeing the wonderful adaptability of the country for fruit growing. Captain Fawcett conducted them over his fine orchard, where some splendid citron, lemon, and fruit trees were observed, as well as an extensive vineyard. The lime and lemon-tree grove could only be equalled in a large estate in some irrigation colony. The virtue of irrigation is appreciated by Captain Fawcett, who, by the aid of a wheel, can obtain a ready supply of water from a creek running through his property. After par- taking of slight refreshments, provided by Captain Fawcett, the party resumed their homeward journey. The trip back, owing to the delays and the necessary slow rate of travelling after dark, took a longer time than the down journey. The party were landed at the Perth Central Station at half-past 9, having spent a most enjoyable day-in fact they could not do otherwise, Mr. McNeil sparing no expense and trouble to make them comfortable, and his able assistant, Mr. George, being indefatigable in providing for and anticipating the wants of the excursion-

ists.

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