NEW SOUTH WALES.
The antiquated piece of ordnance which surmounts Fort Denison, a short distance from Circular Quay, was charged and fired off before daybreak last Saturday morning. Who perpetrated such a risky act remains a mystery, for no one appears to have been seen near the place. The matter was re- ported by the caretaker to the super-
intendent of navigation, who mentioned the matter to the police. Access to the cannon must have been obtained by means of the lightning conductor, and it is concluded that some sailor amused himself in this way. A bit of painted calico, in rough imi- tation of the Boer flag, was hoisted on the
tower of the fort.
Shortly after the hearing of the action by Eleanor Jane Beatton, administratrix of the estate of the late C. V. B. P Dalley, against Joseph Booker, money-lender, was resumed to-day in the Supreme Court, it was announced that the parties had agreed to terms of settlement, which were bene- ficial to the interests of the beneficiaries in the estate.
THE COLONY'S DEFENCES
The Parliamentary select committee concerning the military affairs of the colony held another sitting today, at which the question under consideration was the colony's preparedness in case of attack. Colonel Roberts, the military secretary, stated that as regards ammunition, when present orders were executed there would be five million rounds of cartridges in stock, and it was desired to keep adding to the supply every year, so as to have abundance in reserve, in case of a sudden emergency. A reserve of twelve million rounds would be desirable. With partially paid forces and reservists 15,000 or 16,000 men could be turned out. He was of opinion that shells could not be manufac- tured in the colony, as there was no engi- neer capable of doing the work. Cartridges cost £5,000 per million, and it would re- quire an expenditure of £60,000 alone to place the colony in a state of efficient de- fence in respect of ammunition. Annually £7,000 worth of ammunition was issued in the colony. In his opinion, it would not be advisable to establish a small arms factory for New South Wales alone. When the 4,000 rifles now ordered came to hand there would be 21 to 22 thousand in the colony. The cost per head of the military organisation in New South Wales was 4/5, as comparcd with 23/ in England.
The expenditure of the colony for the past 42 years, including fortifications, salaries, &c., was £6,381,732 or over £152,000 per
Colonel Mackenzie said that 20,000 men could be produced in case of an invasion, but the necessary arms and ammunition for such a number could not be found. The cause was that Parliament for many years
had starved the forces.
The inquiry was adjourned until to-