NARROGIN AGRICULTURAL HALL.
OPENING CEREMONY. Narrogin. November 23.
The Agricultural-hall at Narrogin was opened yesterday afternoon, by Mr. F. H. Piesse, the member for the Wil liams district. There was a representa tive gathering, about 200 persons be ing present. A public dinner followed, and it was attended by about 100 residents and visitors. The chair was occupied by Mr. J. T. W. Chipper, JJ».
Several toasts were honored. In re sponding to the toast of 'The Ministry,' Mr. Piesse expressed regnet that his colleague, the Minister of Lands, was unable to be present owing to. a pressing call from Buaselton. A letter from Mr. Throssell to the secretary was received with great enthusiasm. His reference to the magnificent native grasses lately seen by him in this vicinity greatly pleased the local residents. Mr. Piesee received hearty greetings from hiB coin* stituents. The toast of 'The Ministry3* was proposed in complimefitity terms by Mr. Michael Brown. Mr. Piesse, in reply, referred! to NasTogin as the town, where bis firm, erected its first building on the Great Southern railway line for trade pur poses. His advice was that ill sections of the community should wont together for ihe general good in a spirit of riv alry, but not of jealousy. He promised to do his utmost for all parts of the district, but he admitted that the time must, soon come when, two members would represent his constituency. He welcomed such a movement, as it would add to the strength of the agricultural interests. Referring to the purchase of
the Great Southern Railway he consid ered that by securing the railway, to gether with its lands, the Government had conferred a great benefit upon the district. The acquisition meant ihe placing of the Land Company's tenants in the position enjoyed fcy the tenants of the Crown under the colony's liberal land laws. Although he had previously mentioned the question of ihe prfrchase at various gatherings in the district he thought that it would be as well to again: state, for the information of those who probably did not hear his remarks be fore, that the advantages gained by those parties were many, especially the older tenants of the company,- for,' fijr the purchase, they were enabledjto ex change their leases for leases under the land regulations. The lands, when, thrown open, were bought under the same conditions as those -which existed in other parts .of the colony,- viz., land fit for agricultural purposes could be purchased at 10s. per acre on 20 de ferred payments' of 6d. per unnnm per acre. Probably the adjoining leasehold er (perhaps a Land Company's tenant) had agreed to pay to the company the high price asked by it, for its bind in. many instances amounted to £.1 per acre. The difference' 'iiF-value, which was not justified, caused great discon tent, and the leaseholder, under the company, became indifferent as to com pleting his purchase, resulting as it did vol many tenants failing to pay their rents. When the Government took the land the tenant of the land company received credit or any payments which he had made to the company, and which the Government took as a portion of the 10s. per acre, which was the usual price charged, and also gave him the lease for a. further period, thus relieving him of the responsibility of paying the arrears down at once, extending a& they did over a period of some years. Previously to the purchase o£ the land, and- the ac quiring of the lands by the Government, the land company's tenants were not in a position to enjoy the advantages of the Agricultural Land Bank Act, and therefore were not able to improve their holdings in the same way as the tenant under the Government could. This had all disappeared, and the result proved that die purchase of the line and the land had been fully justified. With re ference to the zone system, Mr. Piesse said that it could not possibly be car ried out with the small population of this colony. To make the zone system a success there must be a very large passenger traffic, as in Belgium, where it was in force ; but- there they had a population of millions where we had. only a few thousands. It would not be applicable to or justifiable in West ern Australia. - - ' Mr. John MDavey, of New South Wales; in replying for .the visitors, re ferred to the liberal land laws here, and the favorable opening for young1 men from the eastern colonies, where good land was so difficult and expensive to
obtain. He expressed the opinion that the Kalgoorlie mines would continue their output of gold for the next hundred years. Mr. W. L. Graham warned the Minis try that unless prompt- steps were taken the whole of the country would be over run by rabbits, numbers of which were now well on their way from the eastern colonies. These remarks were endorsed by others present. The proceedings concluded with S well-attended dance. The hall is a fine stone building. It was erected by Messrs. Thorn, Bower, and Stewart, of York. Yesterday a cricket match came off , here between teaniB representing Wil liams and Narrogin. The local men won easily.