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THE PROPOSED TOWN-HALL.
A numerously-attended meeting of the citizens was held at the Council Chamber, King William street, on Tuesday morning, December 30, to sanction or otherwise the borrowing of £16.000 for
the erection of a Town-Hall and Corporation Offices. His Worship the Mayor took the chair shortly after 10 o'clock, and explained the object of the meeting. He said since he had been connected with the Corporation he had frequently been requested to bring the matter of having a Town Hall forward. The Council proposed to borrow £16,000, and to pay it off— principal and interest in 23 years, in the manner mentioned in the printed papers before them, from which it would be seen the Corporation expected a yearly revenue from the Town-Hall and offices of £1,300. The Council had the uovver to borrow £5,000; but that sum lniiiig inadequate for what they wanted, they were hound to obtain the sanction of the citizens for borrowing a larger sum. He then read the lSlst clause of the Act to bear out this statement. As resiinleil the advisability of building, he thought it was very desirable that the citizens should have a proper building to meet in. (Sox no, and dissension.) There was a difference of opinion on this matter. All the Council wished was that the citizens should approve or disapprove of borrowing this amount of money. They had no other object in view than to improve the city without increasing the citizens' rates. He was not desirous of advocating the cause himself, but wouid call on Sir. Colton to mnve the iirs; resolution. In reply to a question from Mr. Sandover, His Worship read the llllst clause, which, he said, empowered them to call that meeting at 10 o'clock. Air. Saxuoveu did not think the clause referred to that meeting. It only applied to adjourned polls. Mr. Councillor CoLTOsthen moved the following resolution:— 'That it is desirable a Town-Hall and offices should lie erected on the Corporation Acre, and for that purpose the Council lie empowered to boirow a sum not exceeding £1(5,000.' (No.) Mr. ltaphacl said 'Jfo,' hut he was dis posed to think that many in the city would say ' Yes.' (No and Yes.) It was not a few indi viduals that said 'No1' who would have the power on that occasion, but those who came to the poll; and he had not the slightest doubt but that the necessary sanction would be given to the Council. (Confusion.) His Worship here informed Mr. S. Raphael, who was interrupting the speaker, that unless he conducted himself properly lie must leave the room. Mr. Councillor Corro.v, after expressing a hope that Mr. itaphael would not be allowed to inter rupt the speakers, said lie thought there would be little opposition to the lint part of the resolution —the advisability of having a Town-Hall. He thought it would lw considered by the majority of the citizens that it was very desirable to have a suitable hall and oliices in which to carry on the Corporation business. With respect to borrowing the money, he said it had been thought by many that ilia time had come when the citizens should have a Town-Hall; but the amount the Council were empowered to borrow was quite inadequate for the building they wanted, and therefore they came to the citizens for permission to obtain a larger loan. He thought they should continue to improve the city as much as they could, and keep pace with the times; and when this could be done in the manner the Corporation had shown, he thought all opposition should cease, and they should obtain a building which they might hand dowsi to posterity, and one which would be creditable to them as Britons. (Cheers.) It was known they wanted a large room for meetings on city matters. They had one large room in the city, but that at any time might be turned into a theatre if it was to the interest of the proprietor; and if another room could be built without entienchiiisf on the rates of the citizens that erection should take place. £IU,0U0 had been put down as the amount to be borrow ed, but it illicit be found that they would require £15,000 oniy, and consequently, lil;e wise men, they would not borrow the larger sum. They should, how ever, be authorized to obtain that sum of money. The interest wa:- fixed by the Act at I! per cent., and therefore there need be no fears as to their nuying an exorbitant interest for the loan. As he had the right of reply he should not anticipate any opposition, but he believed the scheme would he carried by the intelligent and respectable persons present. (Noise ami cheers.) Mr. Councillor Fauluixu, as the seconder of the motion in the Council for a Town-Hall, rose to second the proposition. He remarked that when ever they built a Town-Hall they would have to borrow the money, unless they assessed themselves by a heavy rare. They had now Waterworks in the city, and they were shortly to have gas. These were works which should distinguish the metro polis of what would be an empire of the future, and he considered the time had arrived when they should have a Town-Hall. (Applause and dissen sion.) Mr. S. Raphael moved, as an amendment— 'That the Corporation be not authorized by this meeting to borrow any sum of money for the pur pose of bui!di!H,' a Town-Hall.' Mr. II. Hi- suKitso.v seconded. Mr. S. Il.U'IUKL said the first question he would ask was by whose desire that meeting had been calied-ihe Corporation or the citizens? (A Voice — 'The Corporation.') Th»n lie, thought it was wrong. Tlioy hail no right to convciu a meeting, except at the d.sire of ihu citizens, lie referred to the reniarls of Mr. Colton with regard to re syivj-.ibility, ami dckshled his character against the insinuations which he said had heun made. He then asked what was to Income of the edifice they were assembled in. They were told when l'i:\t building was asked for, that no other building would be required for 20 years. Sow there were ei^'itt men who met in that room once a fortnight, and yet it was not hior enough for these great men. (Laughter and confusion.) These were facts, and lie lnipad they would show the inadvisability of having a Town-Hall. If they had one they must h ire a rate. The Town Clerk had ssid in a letter that the Council had no anticipation of levying a rate : but would they give u guarantee that they would not. They hoped to pay ott' this sum in 40 years, but he asked what would be the conse quence I Why. the Council which might succeed tlie present one would say, like the Chief Secre tary on the Waterworks question, that it was the doiui,' of a previous Council. He thought they ought to growl in time, before they gave their sanction to this loan and were fettered by. burden- some rates. He maintained that it would be a gre it waste of money ti pull that building down to iii:ii;e room for the Town-Hall. He then pro cuu.kd to speak on thu inability of the Corporation to iiiy out ni.mey judiciously, and referred to some public woiks, which he maintained proved what lie said. The Town Clerk had told them that he had seen Mr. Tndtl und tho Commissioner of Public Works with regard to their renting uortion of the pro posed IniiMiii:,' for Telegraph Ullices. He should not, however, take this; ;is any guarantee that the (.tiivernment would move the ielejjraph Office to that building. If they wanted Telegraph Offices they had plenty of money to erect them .without coming to the humble citizens of Adelaide. He thought the Corporation weie surprised to see so many present at that meeting, but he was proud to think they were alive to their interests; for whatever their property mi^ht be it would lie taxed if they sanctioned this loan. It would be as in the Waterworks, merely putting in the thin end of the wedge, and the Council would take care, to drive it well home before they were done with it. (Noise) With regard to the rental of £4 per foot which was put down in the estimated revenue, he asked whether any one would pay that rate. 15ecau.se he couhl obtain laud on the opposite side of :hestrcct, which was the business siue, on a lease of 00 years, at:SOs. per foot. (No.) Mr. Sandovek called the attention of the Mayor to the fact that Corporation officers were inter rupting that meeting. His WoitSHii' said he had not observed ? (iiuisu). Mr. Councillor Colton rose to order, but could not obtain a hearing, Mr. S. Raphael said he felt rather warm on this subject, but it was for their interest; for what motive hail he to come there but that he had pro porty at stake. He referred to the corn niarKet, which had been erected by the Corporation, and asked them to produce their books and show that that building had yielded a leturn of 2 per cent. This would show that they ought not to be en trusted with the expenditure of a large sum. He maintained that no gentleman in that room ought to allow any one to interfere with his civil and religious liberties— (great laughter)— in any way whatever. They were citizens, and would lie bound by their acts, and yet they were called upon to commit an act which would place the city in a state of insolvency. (Laughter and noise.) They had an overdraft at the Bunk, and yet in face of this, and while having a Council Chamber, they wanted to build a Town-Hall. He referred to the sum of£illj placed down for the rental of the offices, and maintained that neither Mr. .Ncalcs. Mr. White, nor any other gentlemen who had built offices had ever received such a return from them. They were told that the Council would not spend £l(i,0UO if it could be done for £15,IHM; but woujd it, he asked, cost -less than £W,000 J He also thought that M r. Futcher would not he willing to take the large store on that acre at the same rent he was now paying, and which was put down in the estimated revenue at £1U5 per year, if they sanctioned this loan they would commit a great mistake, for he hud gone into calculation and found it would not yield 2 per cent , and the law expenses appeared to have been overlooked. To conclude the matter, he said it would take at least £125 per month to provide for ' deiapsatioii,' insurance, and other matters. (Great laughter, and confusion.) He believed all would agree with him' that when application was made for the removal of nuisances the answer generally received was that there were no funds— (Question)— but they could find funds for a Town Hall. They would i^ive them a Town-Hall, but would not repair their streets and give them proper drainage. (Cheers.) Mr.; Bbufc.\OT said when he entered the room he wasrrither, inclined to oppose the loan, and he had cxpecicdto hear from Mr. Colton the reasons and figures which induced him to lay that proposition before the Council ; but instead of that they had had a disertation on the beauty of elegant buildings. That might be very good, but it would not induce
Hi i ii io put ins iKiiiu in ins iiocKCUs to pay auui tional rates. He thought Mr. Colton should have had some material to put before the citizens, and he hoped in his reply he would enlighten them a little more. He was in favour of a Town-Hall being erected if they had money, but until jt was shown that it would not cost more than was esti mated, and the rents would' Im equal to what was stated, he should oppose it. Any one having been engaged in building knew that estimates were always a large percentage under the total cost— of which they had an instance in the Waterworks. The bare walls and the fitting up of the hall was not all, but they would have furniture to provide. With regard to the profits from the building he said Mr. Colton should have given some reasons for estimating the land frontage at £33$ per annum. With respect to the Telegraph Offices, he would also ask whether they had a guarantee from the Government that they would place that depart ment in the building. On the contraryi there was such antagonism existing between the Govern ment and the Corporation that the Government would sooner build sompwhere for themselves. On the question of having a large Town-Hall for the convenience of the citizens, he remarked that they could not compete with Mr. Aldridge. To under- . sell him would be unjust and out of their province; and if they did not do so they would derive no advantage from the Hall. He thought the whole of the rents had been very highly estimated, and they would have to deduct as nw:h from the profits as would be added to the estimate. He would not say that perhaps in four or five years a Town-Hall might not be wanted; but at present it certainly was not. He did not wish it to be supposed that he supported Mr. Raphael's remarks as to the Cor poration, as he had great respect for them as a body. He should support the amendment Mr. E. Solomon, ALP., rose to support the motion on the ground that they ought to be on the same footing as other large cities. In Sydney they
had a Town-Hall; and the citizens had built a market-place and a row of about 24 shops, which brought in a large revenue. The money was borrowed to carry that out; and he thought Adelaide should also boast of a To.vn Hall. (Yes and No.) Were they always to have a City of huts and holes? No; they re quired good houses and buildings, which would be creditable to them as citizens. He thought, if it should increase the taxes, he would be affected as much as almost any man there ; but he had a large stake in the city, and he wished to xa it im proved. Mr. W. Wadham said he rose to support the amendment on two grounds. First, because the mover of the resolution had failed to show the necessity for a Town-Hall ; and second, to point out a fallacy in the calculations placed before them. On the first question, he had not heard the citizens had been inconvenienced for want of a Town-HalL He was sure Mr. Aldridge was not excessive in his charges, and he felt convinced the Corporation could not compete with him. When the room was converted into a theatre, then they micrht consider the desirability of building a Town Hall. Secondly, he would refer to a faUenes3 in the figures. It seemed enticing ihat they could borrow money at (J per cent. ; but he would show that they could not invest it at S per cent. Leaviug out the first item of land frontage and thu store, which he thought should not lie looked on as revenue from the proposed erection, they had rent lorJTelegraph Offices £350, for other offices £250, and the use of the Hall £200, making a total of £800, wuichjwas exactly 5 p«r cent, on £10,000. (Cheers.) The figures therefore were false, aud he thought it was his duty as a citizen to point them out as such. (Applause.) Mr. Councillor (Joode wished, as one of the Corporation, to say a few words. It was not the wisn of the Mayor or the Council to enforce a Town-Hall on them. All they had done they were justified in doing, for it was not money thrown away; for the plans, if not used now, would be* useful in future. Having gone thus far the Council had appealed to the citizens, and if they were of opinion that they should not go further they were content Some very unkind remarks had been made relative to the Corporation, aud he consi dered them unjust and uncalled for. He trusted they would give the Council credit for good inten tions in the matter, although they might disapprove of thescheme. Tney had not brought the matter for ward on their own account, but in accordance with the wish of many influential citizens. He was sure the Corporation could personally derive no benefit from it, because, if they were inflicting an expense on the citizens, they would be doing so on themselves also. Their wish was to do what was suiDorted by the citizens. Mr. Sandover asked if the Council had received a guarantee from the Government that they would iilace the Telegraph Office in the proposed building. Hi.s Worship said they would not take any steps until it was found the figures presented to them were correct _ Mr. W, Wadham scarcely understood the Mayor to say the Government had given a gua rantee. His Worship said the' Government would not pledge themselves for any lease. The Corporation were not desirous to run the citizens into another rate, and before making the expenditure they would be quite sure of what they were taking in hand. Mr. Sa-t-over, in supporting the amendment, would refer principally to the figures in reference to the Telegraoh Offices. He regretted that any personalities should have been introduced. He gave the Corporation credit for good intentions, and thought then- present Town Council was a credit to them, and should not be subjected to such remarks. With reference to the i330 for rent of the Telegraph Office, he believed it was usual for the Government to be the owners of their premises, and seeing that £(J,0W would purchase an eligible site in King William-street and build a good Telegraph Office, was it likely the Govern ment would rent one from the Corporation? Even if the present Government should agree to do so, they knew Ministries were always changing, ami with these changes the policy of the Government underwent an alteration. Mr. T. W. Severs supported the motion. He remarked that the Waterworks had been brought forward as an instance of lavish expenditure, hut that was a Government undertaking and this was a Corporation work. They had evidence enough to show that no city in the world had risen to such a state of beauty in so short a time— (a laugh)— and they should not be behiud the times in not 'erecting
a iiMiu-uaii. Mr. J. Allen supported the anicndment, ex pressing the great respect he had for the Corpora tion. He opposed the scheme, however, because he felt they did not want a Town-Hall. They would never have a more interesting meeting than that one, and that building was large enough. He wits sure it would be better to take Mr. Aldridge's room, if it were for £50 a night, than build an expensive edifice, as it was intended. Mr. Newman'— Will builders in the Council be allowed to tender for this building? His Worship -That part of the business will lie regulated by the Act I believe. 'Mr. Councillor Colton then rose to reply. He said there were only two or three remarks worth replying to, though there had been many well timed observations Reference had been made to respectability. (Cries of 'Question,' and great uproar.) Ho told them at once, as a memlier of the Corporation, he cared n't a straw lor a Town Hall; but as a ciciien he oxpressei! his views, and he liclicwd it would bu to tiic.r interest to have a Town-Hall. It would add to their respectability as a city, and would not interfere in any way witii the carrying on of otlur works required by the citizens, nor increase their rates. He had it from the architect himself that his estimate of £12,51)0 for the erection of the hall had been submitted to a respectable builder, who stated that his calculation was rather over than under the mark. If they sanctioned the loan of £10,000 the Council would not go beyond that amount without being per sonally responsible. Mr. Uoucaut had expressed disappointment at not having sonic facts and figures from the mover of thu proposition. He would remind him that the Corporation had .sub mitted facts and figures to the citizens, which would enable them to arrive at a right conclusion. They had seen the figures, and ho challenged them to dispute them. It was true they might say they were incorrect, but the-Council maintained they were correct He believed if it were carried out they would be found to be correct in the end, and the citizens would not lie called upon to pay a rate to make up any deficiency. (Mr. Raphael— 'iiosh.') One gentleman had referred to the badne-M of the times, but tins was not a fair argument to bring against the erection of the Town-Hall. He contended, however, that the times were not so bad as had been represented. Uuilding material was at the present time very cheap, and they believed the Town-Hall could be earned out for £12,500 or £14,000, including furni ture and everything required. He believed Mr. Raphael, in the secret recesses of his mind, entered into the erection of the Town-Hall, for in some of his remarks he had anticipated that they would give the necessary permission. (Xo, no, and con fusion.) In the course of 12 months he hoped they would have a respectable Town-Hall— one creditable to Adelaide, and one they would have reason to he proud of. When he rose to a point of order, he did expect that at a meeting in that city he should have had a hearing. He had a right to demand a hearing without interruption wlien he rose to a point of order. The point he rose to was this. Mr. Sandover cams forward and disputed the right of any Corporation othcer taking part in the proceedings, but he held that they came as much as citizons as members and officers of the Council, and had an undoubted right to take part in the proceedings. l-ata had been brought before them in the public journals, and other particulars had been brought before that meeting, so that they would all be pre pared to vote, and he hoped they would vote with a mind to improve the city. In reply to Mr. Sandover, His Worship said a small plan attached to the plan of the Town-Hall showed the elevation which persons building on the acre would bo bound to follow. In answer to Mr. Wvatt, he stated that that acre had been valued by a respectable firm at £ J per foot. The amendment and motion were then put and the numbers declared as follows:— For the motion, (54; for the 'amendment, 55. The motion was therefore carried by a majority of !). A poll having been demanded, the voting com menced about half-past 11 o'clock. The polling was kept up with great spirit throughout, and more interest appeared to be taken in the mutter than m ordinary municipal proceedings. A few minutes before 1 o'clock Mr. Parkinson handed in a protest aguiust the final closing of the poll on that day, stating that it was on the ground that there had been a necessary delay through the insufficient supply of voting-papers. The Tows Clerk said the Corporation were not bound to supply voting-papers.' The citizens ouuhtto conic prepared to hand them in. Mr. Kankin, at 4 o'clock, said he wished, before the poll was declared closed, to put it to His Worship the Mayor, to say whether the citizens hail a lull and fair opportunity to record their votes. He saw by the Act that the Mayor had power to adjourn the polling, and that the matter might be satisfactorily decided ho asked that question, so that His Worship, if he saw fit might adjourn without fiaally closing the poll. His Worship read clause lUlof No. 16 of IS01, which provides that the poll ' shall finally close at 4 in the afternoon, unless in the case of ob struction or necessary hindrance, when the Chair mall,,s,'.la11 9diom'n the poll to the next day, &c.' He (His Worship) declared that he was most anxious to give every citizen an opportunity to re cord his vote, and he thought that opportunity had been given. If he could see the- slightest ad vantage m a postponement, he would comply with the wishes of those who asked for a postpone ment; but he could see none. Ho had been there all day, and persons who had neglected to vote could not expect him to lose another day. Had there been but a small majority upon one side, it might also furnish a reasoii for postponing the poll; but that was not the case.
Mr. Raskin expressed his belief that through the failure in the supply of voting-papers there had been a necessary delay. The Town Clerk read the liith clause of the Act as_ follows:— 'At meetings for making a sale or raising a loan, each voter shall vote by giving to the presiding officer a paper signed by the voter, containing a description of the qualification to vote, the number of votes the voter is entitled to give, and a statement of or a reference to the par ticular proposition for which the votes are given, as the case maybe; and tljo presiding or other authorized officer shall thereby openly record such vote or votes in the poll-book, and the voting-paper shall be carefully preserved amongst the records of the Council, and be open to public inspection at all reasonable times for three mouths afterwards.' Therefore, the Town Clerk continued, the Corpora tion were not bound to supply voting-papers at all ; in fact the schedule gave no'fonn of voting-paper. Mr. Parkinson— Then by your giving a form and an insufficient simplv of then?, have you not so misled the citizens as to vitiate the whole pro ceeding? The Town CLERK-The Corporation supplied forms at first to expedite proceedings, but they were not bound to do so. His Worship, on being requested, read the fol lowing protest :— ' We the undersigned ratepayers enter our protest against the final closing of the poll this day, in consequence of the unavoidable delay in waiting for poflingrpapcrs:— W. Sandover, Orenfell-street; P. Parkinson, Gilbert-street; D. Kekwick, Grenfell-street' He continued-No votinn-paper had been refused; and could the gentlemen who had signed the protest say they had not voted? No answer having been returned by the pro testors. His Worship declared the poll closed, and the scrutiny commenced. The following is the result o!the day's polling:— Number of persons recording votes, 519; for the motion. 302; against it 217; majority of persons, So. Total votes— For the motion, 1,113; against it, 603; majority of votes for the motion, 31Q.