Laying the Foundation Stone
of the Palmerston Town
On Thursday last, the 17th instant, the foundation stone of the Palmers-
ton Town Hall was laid by the Government Resident, Mr. Price. The time fixed was five o'clock, but long before that time a considerable
number of the citizens, with their
wives and families, were walking round and longing for the proceed- ing to commence. The architect,
Mr. Knight, however, kept them in good humour, showing and explaining the plans of the building. Punctually to the minute, Mr. V. V. Buown caine forward and said :
As Chairman of the Palmerston District Council it gives the great pleasure to be present on the occa- sion of laying the foundation stone of this our Town Hall. I may say I think the Council carne to a wise decision when they selected their
worthy and respected Government Resident, Mr. Price, to lay the foun- dation stone. I am not here to unduly eulogise Mr. Price, but will take this opportunity of saying that I have always found him most willing and anxious to promote the prosperity of Port Darwin and the Northern Territory generally. In looking over the minutes of the Council I find the first one was formed early in June of '74. The members were chosen at a public meeting, and their names were Robert Caldwell, S. E. Reynolds, J. Skelton, M. J. Solomon, and Mr. Wells, the then editor of the N. T. Times. The first election took place on July 18th, when Messrs. Skelton, Jones, and Barlow were returned. Since that lime the Council has changed some of its members every year, and I think the ratepayers, both resident and absent, have reason to be satisfied that they have had a Council to look after the general interests of this place. I feel satisfied that the fair sex will be pleased when the building is opened to the public, and I trust it will often prove a source of amusement and attraction to them. The Institute in connection with it I have no doubt will prove a great boon to many persons who wish to spend a quiet hour in intellectual improvement. In calling tor tenders for completion of the work the Council were reluctantly compelled to
postpone erecting the front portion of
the building, but have no doubt the ratepayers will shortly consent to pay
an additional rate, so that the entire building may be completed some time next year. I now come to the im- portant part of the business. It is
usual on occasions of this kind to present the gentleman performing the ceremony with a silver trowel. I am instructed to say, it's not here, but will be forthcoming shortly, suitably inscribed. It is just likely the stone will be quite as well laid without it, for I have often noticed that gentle- men using silver trowels do nor care to use too much mortar with them.
I have much pleasure in introducing Mr. Price, who will now act the part
of the master mason.
The Government Resident having mortar'd the stone, said :
Ladies and Gentlemen,-The Dis- trict Council have requested me to lay the foundation stone, an honour which ought to belong to the Chair- man. However, I am very pleased to have performed such a dury. This is the first building of its kind erected in Palmerston, and I think it may be considered a fair sign of progress that the Council could afford to build such a handsome Town Hall. The large room will be eighty feet long by thirty-five, and over twenty feet high, and will not be a barn, but a really handsome structure; and the fact that Mr Knight is the architect, will be a sufficient warrant that the Palmerston Town Hall will be an ornament to the town. (Cheers.) The present intention is to build the large room, part of which will be divided off for an Institute, and a room for a Council Chamber ; but very shortly the handsome front will be erected, which will for years to come be used as a library and reading
room for the Institute. Some few years since, after the white ants had eaten down Barclay's Rooms, the then Council decided to erect a buiiding of iron as a Council Chamber, and for giving entertainments in. Fortunately there was some hitch about the land, and the iron building was not put up. Now, by waiting a little, we have the good fortune to have a very different class of building, and one we will not
he ashamed to show our visitors. A splendid room where we can entertain distinguished guests, such as Messrs. Favenc and Forrest, the explorers, and our Minister, whenever he pays us a visit. (Cheers.) There is an- other matter I wish to mention, that is, that in another year I trust to see the same Councillors in the Council, but not as members of the District
Council, but of a corporation. Dis- trict Councils are, as a rule, bodies who govern rural districts, containing probably several villages, but here
the case is different. The Council's
jurisdiction extends only over the town of Palmerston, and consequently a corporation is our want. This will enlarge the powers of the Council, and be altogether more suitable. I am pleased to inform you that the contract tor the first part of the Town Hall has been set at a very moderate price, and the Government assisted by contributing nearly a third of the sum on the condition that the Insti-
tute had quarters in the building. It may be said by some that the Council should spend the rates on the streets,
but the clean state of our streets shows that they have not been for- gotten, and it would be useless to metal streets that owing to the nature of the soil are quite fit for any heavy traffic we have at present, therefore I think it was a wise policy on the part of the Council to lay out the rates as they have, for in a few years, if we go on progressing as we are now, the rates will be required to be expended on the roads. I will now call upon you to give three hearty
cheers for Her Majesty the Queen.
This being responded to in the
usual loyal manner, the Resident called for three cheers for the Chair- man and Councillors. This also met with a hearty response, as did also the Chairman's proposition for three
cheers for the Resident.
The following is a copy of the memento placed under the foundation
The foundation stone of this hall was laid by the Government Resident, Edward William Price, Esquire, on the seven- teenth day of August, 1882, in the 46th year uf the reign of our Most Gracious Magesty, Victora, Queen of Great Britain and Empress of lndia.
The Governor-in-Chief of the Province being Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois, CB. G.C.M.G.
The Architect : John George Knight, Esq., Fellow of the Royal Institute of
The Contractors : Messrs. Hughes and
The Council fur the present year con-
sists of five members :
Vistor Voules Brown, Esq.
Messrs. John Corber Millson
James Pickford Joseph Skelton
Vaiben Louis Solomon
Messrs. Walter Harrison
Thomas Wilshere Morris
CLERK TO THE COUNCIL :
John George Kelsey.
The following are the names of the Councillors elected when the first Council was formed in the year 1874 :
CHAIRMAN : Robert Caldwell, Esq.
Moss Judah Solomon
A copy of the Northern Territory Tines and Gazette of August the 12tj id
The Chairman, Mr. V. V. Brown, then invited the gentlemen present to adjourn to Pickford's Hotel for a glass of champagne.
On arriving at Pickford's Hotel the Chairman called for champagne, when the usual loyal toasts were duly
The Chairman then proposed,
" The health of the Government resident, Mr. Price," and said :
We have to thank Mr. Price for the manner in which he came forward
to-day and performed the ceremony of laying the foundatiou stone; I trust
we shall see him Government Resi- dent of Port Darwin for many years
The Resident responded in suit- able terms, and then said that on such an occasion it was only right to pro- pose the health of the Minister for the Territory. He had been amongst us, and from many conversations with him he (Mr. Price) was firmly con-
vinced that he and other members of
the Ministry intended to do their utmost to develop the resources of the Northern Territory. (Cheers.) He had taken a greater interest in its welfare than perhaps any other gentleman in South Australia, and
would continue to do so.
The toast was heartily drunk amid loud cheering.
Mr. V. V. Brown then proposed
"The advancement of the Northern Territory."
Mr. W. Harrison, in responding,
I am sorry that you should have chosen such a very "new chum" as I am in the Territory to respond to this toast, as an older resident would have done more justice to it, but I will do my best. At no time have the pros- pects of advancement in the Territory been brighter than at present. Al- most daily we hear of new sugar, gold, tin, pastoral and agricultural com- panies being floated, and everything looks as if rapid strides were being made in the right direction. This day will always be remembered as a "red-letter " day in the history of the Northern Territory and of Palmers- ton in particular, for today we have witnessed the laying of the foundation stone of the Palmerston Town Hall, which is another proof of progress. This country is moving ahead rapidly,
and in a few years I have no doubt
that it wiil be one of the most impor- tant on the southern side of the line, and Palmerston one of the principal ports, (Cheers). We have the right
class of men here to assist in the
development and advancement of this country, and if we only continue to get such men as settlers here we need not fear for the future of the Northern Territory. (Cheers). Gentlemen, on behalf of all the representatives of professions, trades, and industries, in the Northern Territory, I thank you for the hearty manner in which you have received this toast.
Councillor Skelton said he had a
toast to propose that, he felt sure would be received with approbation. It was the health of Mr. Knight, the architect of the building, and the contractors, Mess's. Hughes and Hall. For himself, he was thankful that the Council had obtained the services of
Mr. Knight, who had certainly planned a building that would prove, when finished, an ornament to our town. Many present would know that Mr. Knight had planned and carried out some very extensive works in Victoria. The Victorian Houses of Parliament
were designed by him some years ago, but were not finished owing to a scarcity of cash. Now, however, they were nearly completed under the supervision of his late partner, Mr. Kerr, and would form one of the land marks of the capital of one of the most prosperous colonies of Australia. Our architect ! yes, he would call him our architect-( Hear, hear) -will have the honour and pleasure of knowing in the long future that the first public building in Port Darwin was designed and carried out under his superintend- ance-(Cheers.)-and he hoped it
would not be the last. He had now to refer to the contractors who had
undertaken the work at a price which he considered very moderate. They were carrying out the work with energy, and he trusted it would leave them a margin of profit; they were young men, and had a great future before them. Probably we may yet see them contracting for some sections of the Railway to Pine Creek. (Cheers and " I hope so.") He would not detain them longer, but would
give the toast " Success and long life : to our Architect and Contractors.
Drank with enthusiasm aud the usual musical honours.
Mr. Knight, in reply, said :
I am exceedingly obliged to you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen for the
very hearty manner in which you have drank my health. My long dormant professional qualifications have at last been called into action on a small scale, and I only hope that the
Town Hail may be the commence- ment of a better class of workmanship
and a more creditable style in appear- ance than we have heretofore been
accustomed to. It is a great mistake to suppose because a buiidiing is plain and ugly that it is necessarily cheap, and it is a further mistake to imagine that a structure which is properly de- signed and sightly to look at must needs be expensive. The real art of building is to make the most of the materials at your command, and to put them in such form as to please the eye. Next to a beautiful woman there is not a more captivating object than a handsome harmoniously de- signed building. I have carried out works amounting to many hundreds of thousands of pounds, and I shall be only too happy to spend the funds of the District Council or any other body. Only give me money enough and I will design you a palace. With regard ro Messrs Hughes and Hall, they are young contractors, to whom I shall be too happy to impart such practical hints as my long experience will enable me to offer. They will not find me a vexatious supervisor, but, like Shylock, I like to have rhe pound of flesh as stipulated in rhe bond. I will only say, in conclusion, thait I hope the Town Hall when finished will be satisfactory to the Council and the public at large. (Cheers.)
Mr. C. W. Hughes, in responding,
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, allow me to thank you must sincerely for the kind mannier ini which you have coupled with your last toast the name of the contractors. I quite agree with Mr. Skelton when he says that be thinks you are getting a good building at a moderate cost ; I think that he might have gone still further and have said that you were getting a substantial building very cheaply
indeed. Mr. Hall and I felt on our arrival in Palmerston that we must
make a start at something, and shortly after our coming amongst you tenders were invited for the erection
of a Town Hall, and we thought we could not do better than go in for it, and as you all know we proved suc- cessful. I hope on its completion it
will be a building that we'll not only be proud of ourselves, but one which I trust that everyone in Palmerston will be proud of. I think the rate- payers may congratulate themselves in having returned gentlemen to represent them in the Council who are thoroughly alive to their interests, and who will not spend public money without having something good in return for it, and I don't think they can go far wrong in going in for good substantial public buildings when necessary, as they not only add to the beaury of the town but also greatly enhance the value of property. Our contract is for only one room, 80 x 35, which of course will not look very imposing, but I trust that during
rhe next few mouths our Councillors
will see their way clear to call for tenders for the completion of the building, and if us carried out accord- ing to the plans first prepared by their architect you will then have a very handsome structure. ln referring to
the laying of rhe foundation stone which you have just witnessed I wish to apologise for rhe common trowel which our worthy Government Resi- dent was obliged to make use of, but I may sta'e that it is our intention to send an order to Adelaide for a silver
trowel, with suitable inscriptiou en- graved thereon, and on its arrival here Mr. Price will he asked to accept it in remembrance of the interesting ceremony which he has just performed. Our contract time for finishing Town Hall is February next, but we hope to hand it over about Christmas time, and our Councillors will then be able
to begin a new year in a new building, and I trust that they may long live to do much good for their fellow towns- men. (Cheers.) Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I again thank you for the
Mr. Hall, in responding, said he was rather pleased at Mr. Skelton's allusions to the Pine Creek railway. It was only a question of time, and now a very short time, before tenders
would be called for the various sec- tions of the line, and he might say their firm intended to have a shie for some of them. (Loud cheers.)
Councillor Skelton proposed somewhat humourously the health of the City Auditors, Messrs. Walter Harrison and Thos. Wilshere Morris, which was responded to by Mr.
He then briefly proposed the health of Mr. Kelsey, the Town Clerk, which was as briefly responded to.
Three cheers for the Queen brought the proceedings to a close.