(TO THE EDITOR.)
Will you kindly allow me to point out, through your columns, what little consideration settlers on the Tablelands, at times, receive from the Government.
The first grievance I will bring for- ward is in connection with the over-seas mail service to Borroloola, which was no doubt meant by the Government as a benefit to settlers, but which through the neglect of the person or persons who should see that the service was properly carried out, has become little short of a curse to this locality.
During the whole of the last contrac- tors term the dates of sailing from Port Darwin were so frequently altered that a settler could not rely upon meeting the mail in Borroloola, when he was prepared to spend a fortnight in that town. Early in February last I visited Borroloola to meet the mail on the con- tract date and do some business, but learned on my arrival in town that the sailing date had been altered and my other duties were so pressing that I could not delay. Had I delayed I would have been doomed to further disappointment for the sailing date was again altered. Further, teams which arrived in Borroloola in the early part of February could not, owing to these alterations, load up until the 28th, by which time the roads, through floods, became untraversable, and inland settlers were, in consoquence, left very badly supplied with provisions.
The question has often been asked locally why the alterations have been made in the sailing dates, and who is responsible for allowing the contractor
to run the service to suit his own con-
venience. If, as is generally supposed, the alteration were made to convenience
Wyndham folk, I need only point out to you that Borroloola gets about a ton of cargo for every pound that goes from Port Darwin to Wyndham, and that the passenger traffic is about equal, to show the injustice to us.
I will now pass on to the new oontract and ask why, in opposition to the wish of settlers, have the Postal authorities altered the sailing date from 1st April to 1st May ? When I was in Adelaide in 1898 I had a conversation with Mr. Solomon, and the late Mr. Griffiths, on the matter, and they kindly introduced me to the Hon. Minister controlling the Territory, and gave me an opportunity to point out to him how inconvenient the sailing dates were to settlers draw- ing regular supplies from Borroloola. The result of the interview was, the contractor was asked to make his call at Borroloola early in April instead of at the end of that month. The altera. tion may seem trilling to the uninitia- ted but it means a lot to settlers in this locality who may be forced, against their wish, to draw the bulk of their supplies from a Queensland port.
The absolute necessity for the Govern- ment placing a boat at the Anthony Lagoon crossing is the last matter I shall touch upon. For many years I have had a private boat here and it has been most useful to the travelling public during the recent floods, when it was the means of saving a life. At Anthony Lagoon there is both a Police Station and a Post Office, but no boat, and the absence of it is often felt. Lately I had occasion to send from old Corella Downs Station to the Police in reference to a missing man, Mr. H. A. Readford, and .the officer (M. C. Jordan) who returned with my messen- ger had to swim fully 100 yards, in doing which all his provisions were destroyed. When M. C. Jordan got back to Anthony Lagoon (I travelled across with him) the flood waters were quite a mile wide and running so strong that to cross was quite out of the ques- tion, and consequently we were flood- bound for nearly a fortnight. When we did cross, with a considerable swim, on the 31st March, it was to late to vote, whereas, if there had been a boat, we could have crossed, the mails could have run, and several voters could have recorded their votes.
Before this can appear in print I will probably be out of the district, so it matters but little to me personally whether any notice is taken of my wail, but I hope for the sake of those who remain, to fight against all kind of seasons and hardships, that those whose business it is wilL see that the matters I refer to are attended to promptly.
Thanking you in anticipation and apologising for filling so much of your valuable space.
I am etc., JAMES C. HUTTON.