OPENING OF THE SANDGATE
The railway from Brisbane to Sandgate
was formally opened by his Excellency the Governor, Sir Arthur Kennedy, yesterday.
Although the contract time for this work will not expire till August, the contractors-Messrs. Geo. Bashford and Co.-expected to have had the line finished some time ago, but a number of causes have combined to delay Mr Bashford and prevent his expectations being realised. As it is, the line has been made available for traffic nearly three months before it would have been had Mr Bashford taken his full time, and the result will be considerable convenience to the public.
The route taken by the railway, and the work along the line, have been previously described, and are now so well known that it is unneces-
sary to again detail them. By far the heaviest part of the work is between the Brisbane terminus and German Station. Beyond this the line runs over almost level country, the work being little more than surface formation, with flood openings, and two considerable bridges over Nundah and Cabbage-tree Creeks, from German right into Sandgate. There are at present intermediate stations at Bowen Park, the Albion, German, and Nudgee, the buildings being small wooden structures, while at several other points along the line platforms have been erected. At Sandgate there is a station, goods shed, and engine shed. The line, although fenced all the distance, and perfectly secure for traffic, is not yet finished. The station at present is nearly at the rear of the Osbourne Hotel, but, as a large portion of the buildings in Sandgate are now situated in the neighbourhood of Kate
street and Shorncliffe, there is a strong feeling that the railway should be taken another half- mile or so, with another platform near the mouth of Cabbage-tree Creek. There are no difficulties in the way of such an extension, and it will probably be carried out ere long. The bridge at present spanning Breakfast Creek is a temporary one, and has to be replaced by an iron structure, which is included in Mr Bashford's contract. The branch to the racecourse, which leaves the main line about a mile or so on the Brisbane
side of German Station, is also not yet quite finished, and there are several small jobs along the main line that require attending to. Mr Bashford's contract price was £38,634, and the Chief Engineer expects that the total cost of the railway, which is twelve miles and fourteen chains in length, including buildings, will be about £4500 per mile.
In arranging the ceremonies connected with the opening, the Municipal Council of Sand-
gate took the initiative, being assisted by a grant of money from the Government and some private subscriptions. The Govern-
ment also issued a large number of passes, and ran two trains each way for the use of those who wished to be present at the opening. The first train, consisting of ten large carriages, left Brisbane at twenty-five minutes to 10
o'clock in the morning, crowded with people, and, after calling at intermediate stations,
reached Sandgate at 10.15, thus doing the journey in forty minutes. Anothei train left
town at a quarter-past 11 o'clock with a con- siderable number of passengers, and arrived
at its destination at five minutes before 12
o'clock, the number carried by the two trains being about 700 or 800. His Excellency the Governor, accompanied by his private secretary, Captain O'Callaghan; the Premier, the Hon.
Thos. McIlwraith; the Colonial Treasurer, the Hon. A. Archer; the Postmaster-General, the Hon. B. D. Morehead; the Attorney-General
the Hon. Pope Cooper; the Hon. S. W. Griffith, leader of the Opposition, and several other
members of the Assembly, as well as of the Upper House, arrived at Sandgate by special train at
a quarter past 12, the journey having been run
in twenty-seven minutes. Miss Kennedy, Mrs. McIlwraith, Mrs. Pope Cooper, and several
other ladies also accompanied his Excellency.
The vice-regal party arrived somewhat earlier
than was expected, and the consequence was that upon his Excellency stopping on to the platform there was no one to officially receive him. After waiting about ten minutes, how- ever, the mayor (Mr Deagon) and aldermen of Sandgate arrived, and after his worship had welcomed his Excellency, the town clerk (Mr Macalister) read the following address :- To his Excellency Sir Arthur Kennedy, K.B.,
G.C.M.G., Governor of Queensland and its
May it please your Excellency, - We, the mayor
and aldermen of the municipality of Sandgate, desire to express our gratitude and satisfaction at the presence of your Excellency on the occasion of
opening the railway line between Brisbane and
We are aware that your Excellency always takes a deep interest in any public work which benefits
the community or promotes the prosperity of the colony of Queensland, and we feel assured that your Excellency will most heartily unite with us in congratulations on the opening of a railway line which will prove of great benefit to the
southern portion of the colony, not only for travel- ling, but ultimately, we hope, for the shipping in- terest of Moreton Bay.
And we heartily welcome your Excellency among us on this auspicious occasion.
His Excellency briefly replied, congratu- lating the people of Sandgate upon the open- ing of the railway, and stated that had he not regarded the occasion as a very împortant one he should not have been present, as he had a very bad attack of asthma, and felt exceed-
Cheers were then given for the Governor and Miss Kennedy, after which they, with the
Premier and Mrs McIlwraith, were driven to the Sandgate Hotel, to await luncheon.
At a quarter-past 1 o'clock a company num- bering nearly 400 ladies and gentlemen sat down to luncheon, provided by Mr Drouyn, of
the Osbourne Hotel, in a large marquee erected
near Picnic Point. The mayor of Sandgate
presided, having on his right his Excellency,
the hon. the Postmaster-General, the Hon. S W Griffith, the Hon. F H Hart, M.L.C.,
with Mrs McIlwraith and other ladies ; and on his left Miss Kennedy, the hon. the Premier, and Mrs Pope Cooper. Amongst
those present were also his Honour Mr Justice Pring, the Hon. A J Thynne, M.L.C. ; the Hon. J C Heussler, M.L.C. ; the Hon. C H
Buzacott, M.L.C. ; Messrs J R Dickson, Hamilton, Macfarlane, W H Groom, P O'Sullivan, W Kellett, and Jas. Foote, M.L.A.'s ; the mayor of Gympie (Mr
Ferguson), and the mayor 0f Ipswich (Mr Willie).
Luncheon being over, the toast of the "Queen and Royal Family" was proposed, and duly honoured. The Chairman proposed the health of "His
Excellency the Governor, Sir Arthur Kennedy, and Miss Kennedy," and in doing so said the people of Queensland had reason to feel proud
that they had such a Governor — one who took
such an interest in the welfare of the colony, in agriculture, and in the education of our children. He mentioned that it had been intended that the children of Sandgate should have met his Excellency, and sung the National
Anthem, but were prevented from doing so by
a slight mistake.
The toast was drunk with enthusiasm.
His Excellency, in responding, said he was sorry that, owing to indispositon, he felt unequal
to the task before him. He was pleased to see the ladies present to-day with their husbands,
where they ought to be, and hoped that on all occasions of this kind they would set a good example by coming amongst them and keeping them in order. He thanked the company exceedingly for the kind manner in which he had been received. It was nothing unusual,
for wherever he went he found the loyalty of
the people increasing. His race, either here or in the world, was now pretty well run. [Cries of "No."] He did not expect to live for
ever. He had now served the Crown uninter- ruptedly for fifty-four years. He should be with us for another twelve months, at the end of which time his term of office cxpired, and whether he then retired into private life or was allowed to remain in active service, he would never forget the kindness he had received here. The railway to Sandgate had made that town an entirely different place, and would prove a great blessing to the people of Brisbane, who would be able now without difficulty to come to Sandgate and get plenty of fresh air and fresh fish. He returned thanks, not only for himself, but also for Miss Kennedy. He was sure she felt their kindness as much as he did ; and although some thought she did nothing, he could assure them that she did a great deal.
Although they failed to do much good, it was not known how much harm they did not do. (Laughter and applause).
The Chairman next proposed the toast of "The Ministry," and said he was sure the people of Sandgate would never have got their railway had it not been for the present Government. They had been promised a good many things, which they thought their member would get carried out ; but they found they had hold of the wrong end of the stick. He could say that the people of Sandgate would support the Ministry if the latter would support them. They had as yet only carried out a part of their programme, and he hoped he should not die — or, at any rate, not die in peace — until the railway was extended to Gympie (Laughter).
The toast was drunk with cheers.
Mr McIlwraith (who on rising was received with applause) congratulated the people of Sandgate upon the completion of their line, and also upon having as their mayor a gentle- man who at any rate could express his ideas with energy. He was satisfied — and he was sure the people of Sandgate had reason to be satisfied — with the railway as far as it had gone. There was not so much difficulty in carrying out public works as in deciding upon the right time to do them. He did not claim for the Government any great merit for the Sandgate Railway ; all he said was that they were satisfied with it so far, and that it would no doubt also prove satisfactory to Sandgate property-owners. He hoped it would induce them to erect plenty of respectable buildings, so as to encourage people to stay at the place.
Mr Morehead, in response to several calls, made a happy speech, concluding by stating that the Ministry was one in whom he had every confidence, and that he should stick to them as long as he could.
Mr Wm. Ferguson (mayor of Gympie) proposed the toast of "The Parliament of Queensland," and in doing so urged several reasons in favour of the Sandgate Railway being continued to Gympie.
The Hon. F H Hart briefly responded on behalf of the Legislative Council.
Mr Griffith (who was received with pro- longed applause), in responding on behalf of the Assembly, said he claimed the credit of the construction of the Sandgate Railway for the Parliament as a whole, and not for one party more than another. On both sides a great deal of interest had been taken in the work. He, for one, had always done so, and he most heartily congratulated the people of Sandgate and their municipality upon the completion of the line. He had no doubt it would before many years work an entire change in the appearance of the town, in its wealth and popula- tion. He thought we had not yet fully realised the advantages of railway extension in the settled parts of the colony. He thought these advantages were at present underrated. He believed they would be handsomely-paying investments, and he congratulated the present Government upon being in office when this line was opened, as he considered it would be an occasion that would be looked back to with the greatest satisfaction. He well remembered
how the idea of the Maryborough and Gympie
line was scouted when first mooted, but this was now proving one of the best paying lines in the colony. He thought the circumstances existing there were applicable to the Sandgate Railway, and that the latter would pay also. He was glad to be present, and hoped it would not be the last occasion on which he would meet the people of Brisbane and other parts of the colony at festive boards of this kind. (Applause).
Mr McIlwraith proposed "The Municipal Council of Sandgate," which was responded to by the Mayor and Aldermen Wakefield and Cooksley, the latter expressing his regret that the Colonial Treasurer and Attorney-General had been compelled to go to an hotel for their lunch, because they could not find room at the table with the present company.)
The Chairman next proposed the health of "The Chief Engineer of Railways," and Mr
Stanley, in responding, said that although there had been no engineering difficulties to contend with in the construction of the Sand- gate line, there had been many other difficulties inseparable from suburban railways, which were very trying to the patience of the contractor, if not to the engineer. He estimated the total cost of the line at about £4500 per mile, and said it was one of the cheapest suburban rail-
ways yet made in the colony. In the reduced cost of railways we owed a great deal to the class of contractors we now had in the colony, and pais a tribute of praise to Mr Bashford as one of the first amongst those who had made a raid against the excessive prices that pre- viously ruled. He was sorry the present line had not proved as profitable to Mr Bashford as might have been wished ; and that gentleman was deserving of great credit for the energetic way in which he had pushed on the work.
Mr W Kellett, M.L.A., proposed the health of the contractors, Messrs Bashford and Co., and spoke in high terms of Mr
George Bashford as an efficient contractor, who had worked himself up to his present position by hard work.
Mr George Bashford, in responding, said although the job had not proved profitable, they must be content to lose as well as win, and he had done his best to get the line opened at as early a date as possible.
The toasts of "The Ladies" and "The Press" having been duly honoured, the com- pany dispersed. The vice-regal party returned to Brisbane by special train leaving Sandgate at 4 p.m., and the other visitors by trains starting at 4.30 p.m. and 6.10 p.m. respec- tively. There were a good many complaints that the arrangements connected with the ceremonies and luncheon were not so satisfac- tory as could have been desired, but on the whole those who visited Sandgate yesterday passed an enjoyable day.