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Opening of the Railway Extension to Glen Innes

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Thursday 21 August 1884, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

Opening of the Great Northern Railway Extension to Glen Innes.

(from our own Reporter.)

On Tuesday, the extension from Armidale to Glen Innes of the Great Northern Railway, was officially opened by the Acting Minister of Works, the Hon. George R. Dibbs. Departing from the custom hitherto observed in connexion with extensions, the Government had issued only a limited number of complimentary tickets. The distribution was not indeed confined to members of Parliament, but members of Parliament, some seventeen in number, accepted the invitation of the Minister to be his guests on the occasion. Other holders of complimentary tickets, travelled in the ministerial and other special trains, end altogether a very considerable gathering of Sydney and down country people visited the tableland, at the beginning of this week. The first contingent, chiefly of Newcastle folk, reached Armidale on Sunday night; and fully-laden trains on Monday night brought many Maitland, Singleton, and Tamworth people, and the Ministerial party. There was a very animated scene between seven and eight o’clock on Monday evening, when the trains came in. They were both later than were timed, and the station yard was full of buggies, omnibuses, and other vehicles, whose lights viewed from a distance served in the main to make the surrounding darkness visible. Beyond were the straggling lamps of the cathedral city, showing where Armidale was rather than illuminating it. Gas works are in progress, we believe, and meanwhile Armidale is lighted in the fashion of most towns in New South Wales which have to depend on kerosene and candles. When the influx of visitors occurred on the evening in question, there was a rush for hotel accommodation, and Armidale enjoyed in some measure for a second time the benefits of a railway opening demonstration, Somewhat of a harvest was reaped by hotel keepers, but no visitor was compelled to lack housing. We hear tales of sleeping on tables and of jumping bedrooms already secured, but such incidents are necessarily attendant on similar seasons.

Down-country visitors had an ample taste of what a New England winter is, when day dawned on Tuesday morning. A keen wind blew from the west, and old residents promised travellers snow at Ben Lomond, an assurance that was received with mingled chagrin and curiosity. People who wanted to see snow were almost unreasonable enough to want warm snow. As it happened, the trains encountered a snow storm; and the wind grew keener and more biting, if that could be, in consequence. Three trains left Armidale between nine and eleven o’clock on Tuesday morning, and all were crammed. The first to leave was one from Armidale, which was soon filled by thousands of residents and visitors who had come the previous night. Armidale made holiday on the occasion and turned out generously. The weather was not at this time promising for a day out. Rain had threatened from the early hours, and now began to fall rather thickly. Some imaginative person said the showers were nature’s tears, at the loss by Armidale of the honor and profit of the terminus. “Ichabod !” was their signification, it was suggested. The second train, well filled, came through from Tamworth; and, when it left the station, gave a new proof that there has apparently yet to be found a limit to the holding power of railway carriages. Lastly came the Ministerial train, in which few vacant seats could be discovered. The trains that started first were shunted out of the way to allow the official one to pass, and as a compensation for this delay, the people in them witnessed a snow storm, of which the occupants of the Minister’s carriages and their fellows saw only the remnants. After this display of bad weather, sunshine prevailed, though the air continued to be cold and bracing.

Following is an official account of the Glen Innes line and the works upon it:-The extension of the Great Northern Railway from Armidale to Glen Innes is the last portion of contract No. 2 (Uralla to Glen Innes) of the extension Tamworth to Tenterfield, commencing at 260 miles 24 chains from Newcastle, and terminating at 324 miles, being a total distance of 63 miles 56 chains. The height above sea level at Armidale is 3255 feet, and at Glen Innes station it is 3507 feet, giving a rise of 252 feet towards Tenterfield, The highest point of the line is at Ben Lomond, 4560 feet, being 1305 feet higher than Armidale. The earthworks upon this section of the line are heavy, and amount to about 1,637,590 cubic yards of excavation. The number of cuttings is 106, and the depths of the cuttings and the heights of the embankments vary from 1 to 58 feet for cuttings, and from 1 to 89 feet for embankments. There are no large streams between Armidale and Glen Innes, and only a few 26-feet spans of timber viaducts have been requisite, in addition to a large number of small timber flood openings, brick culverts, box and-pipe drains, &c. The number of curves is 68, and they vary from 12 to 400 chains radius, and give a distance of 24 miles 16 chains; the remaining distance, 39 miles 40 chains, being straight. Of these curves nine are of 12 chains radius and 50 are sharper than 40 chains. The gradients are 179 in number, and vary from 1 in 40 to 1 in 660 for a distance of 60 miles 43 chains, the remaining distance of only 3 miles 13 chains being level. There are four bridges over the railway. Just after leaving the very extensive station ground at Armidale comparatively easy country is met with, and there are no works of any importance until the first station upon this section, called Inverella[1], is reached at a distance of 266 miles 4 chains from Newcastle. At this place is a neat passenger station, built of brick, 54 feet in length x 14 feet in breadth, with verandah to platform front, and containing a general waiting-room 20 feet by 17 feet; a ticket office, and ladies’ waiting-room, each 44 feet square ; lamp-room, &c. The platform is 330 feet long and 15 feet wide, and is ramped at both ends. The stationmasters house is a brick cottage, containing six rooms. The goods warehouse is built with timber and galvanised iron on brick foundations, and is 72 feet by 22 feet, with covered platforms six feet wide extending the whole length of the building. There is also an office and an uncovered platform 84 feet by 12 feet, and a siding for loading purposes. The water supply at this station is from rain-water tanks. A level crossing and gatekeeper’s cottage, built of brick, and consisting of four rooms, are provided at 266 miles and 13½ chains, where the main road from Armidale to Inverell crosses the line. From Inverella northwards the country becomes rough and broken, and the next station reached is Boorolong, 280 miles and 39 chains, where there is a small waiting-shed, built of timber on piles, with an iron roof, and with the necessary offices ; a platform, 330 feet long by 15 feet wide ; a goods shed, 60 feet long by 16 feet, with the necessary covered platform and office ; and an uncovered platform, 84 feet by 12 feet. The stationmaster’s cottage is built of timber on piles, and consists of four rooms. A level crossing and sheep and cattle races and yards are also provided here, with sidings for trucking stock. The water supply is obtained from rain-water tanks.

About a mile from this station Boorolong Creek is spanned by three 26-feet timber openings. There is a timber trestle skew overbridge built on brick sills, at 268 miles 35 chains. Guyra is the next station, at 286 miles 50 chains, where there is a waiting-shed, built of brick with iron roof, 33 feet 6 inches by 14 feet, with verandah to platform front, and contains a general waiting-room, 13 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 6 inches ; ladies’ room and ticket office, each 8 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 6 inches ; yards, &c, The platform is 264 feet long by 15 feet in width, with ramps at each end. The stationmaster’s house is of brick, and of the same dimensions as that at Inverella. There is also a goods-shed here, a timber and iron structure, built on piles 60 fast by 16 feet, with an office and uncovered platform 84 feet by 12 feet, and outside platforms each 6 feet wide, covered, and running the whole length of the building. A siding for loading trucks with goods and a level crossing are also provided. The water required for this place is pumped up by an engine to a supply tank 26 feet by 26 feet, supported upon a timber framing, from the Mother of Ducks Lagoon, which is situated about 4 chains to the eastern side of the station ground. A portion of the space beneath the tank is utilised as a storeroom. The pumping engine house is built of timber and galvanised iron, and there is a brick cottage provided for the accommodation of the pumper. Ben Lemond and Glencoe are the next two stations-the former at 301 miles 48 chains, and the latter at 310 miles 35 chains from Newcastle. The buildings and station accommodation for these two places are of the same description and dimensions. The waiting-shed is built of brick, 33 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 6 inches, with verandah to platform front, and contains a general waiting room, 13 feet 6 inches x 12 feet 6 inches ; ladies’ room and ticket office, each 8 feet 6 inches x 12 feet 6 inches, with lamp room, &c. The platform is 264 feet x 12 feet. A brick cottage has been built here to serve as a residence for the Stationmaster. The goods warehouse, a timber and galvanised iron structure, built on piles, is 60 feet x 16 feet, with the necessary platforms, sidings, tanks, &c. There is also a level crossing here. Between Ben Lomond and Glencoe the heaviest portion of the line is encountered, there being a gradient of 1 in 40 for a continuous length of 3 miles 10 chains, on which are several curves, no less than seven of these being of 12 chains radius. About a mile beyond Ben Lomond station there is a heavy cutting from which 116,470 cubic yards have been excavated, the greater part being rock, Before entering Glencoe station ground at 309 miles 65 chains, Moronan Creek is crossed upon 8 26-feet spans of timber openings. The Great Northern road crosses the railway at 312 miles 75 chains, and again at 320 miles 62 chains upon brick arches, and a timber trestle bridge on timber sills has been provided for the road crossing over the creek diversion near 315 miles 16 chains. Beardy River, at 316 miles 7 chains, is crossed by a skew timber viaduct, consisting of 12 26-feet spans with wings ; and Rocky Ponds Creek, situated at 322 miles 35 chains, is spanned by three 26-feet timber openings. At the Newcastle end of the Glen Innes station, at 323 miles 38 chains there is an over-bridge built of timber, with brick piers and abutments. There is an extensive station yard at Glen Innes, considerable accommodation having been provided to meet the requirements of the locality. The passenger station, a commodious brick building, with cement facing, 110 feet in length by 28 feet wide, having verandahs to both platform and road fronts, contains a general waiting room 21 feet by 20 feet ; stationmaster’s, ticket, telegraph, and left-luggage offices, each 12 feet by 16 feet; parcels office, 16 feet by 26 feet; and ladies’ waiting-room, 16 feet by 17 feet 6 inches. The porters’ and lamp rooms, &c, are situated in detached buildings at each end of the main building, the spaces between same being occupied by sheds and yards. The platform is 12 feet wide and 350 feet in length, and there is a carriage-dock 60 feet long. The engine-shed, covering these lines of rails, is 111 feet by 53 feet, built with timber and galvanised iron. Inside the building there are engine-pits and work-benches. Outside the shed there are three engine-pits, each 40 feet long, together with an engine-tank, a coal stage 157 feet in length by 14 feet in width, and an engine turntable 50 feet in diameter. The goods warehouse is also built with timber and galvanised iron on brick piers, and is 108 feet long by 22 feet wide. There are two outside platforms, each 84 feet by 15 feet, one at each end of the building, and also an office ; and covered landings or platforms 6 feet wide, for loading or unloading goods, &c, these platforms extending the whole length of the building, There is a stationmaster’s house, and also a wool platform 132 feet long by 10 feet wide ; and sheep and cattle yards are to be erected. Mr. David Proudfoot is the contractor for the general works on the extension.

The scenery visible from a passing railway carriage requires very little description. For some miles out of Armidale, lightly timbered forest alternates with cultivated land, and many a cosy homestead serves to show that agriculture is not quite an unprofitable pursuit. The wheat crops are backward compared with those visible between Tamworth and Singleton say. Compared with the Hunter River and Liverpool Plains, New England just now presents a withered and brown aspect. As the journey towards Glen Innes continues, signs of cultivation disappear, and while the trains climb the mountains, some extensive and grand views of broken country are obtained. The soil is pretty well throughout the length of the line rich wheat soil, even on the slopes of the hills, and occasionally some nice valleys open, or a level tract is passed, which when cleared hereafter will no doubt be the fertile home of many a crop. The feature of the journey will always be the Mother o’ Ducks lagoon, an immense sheet of water, the surface, however, of which is nearly hidden by a dense growth of brown rushes. Ruggedness of outline in the country gives place to a softer beauty as the traveller nears Glen Innes, and a broad valley with a gently undulating surface will also constitute at all times a pleasurable sight. Most of the cleared land is under cultivation; signs of pastoral occupation are scant, On some pretty plain country granite rocks jutting through the surface of the earth in clusters strongly resemble flocks of sheep reclining after browsing. A little further on, when the train passes through the aeries of curves mentioned above, there are several collections of very huge granite boulders. This part of the line resembles in some measure that between Wingen and Murrurundi, For the greater part of the distance the timber is very poor, and particularly ugly, the prevailing characteristic being the dull grey gum. But now and then the glorious sight of large wattle trees in full bloom relieved the eye, tired of the monotony. Altogether, the extension opened on Tuesday is not one which cheers the traveller with any conspicuous exhibition of beautiful natural scenery.

When the opening train reached its destination, the Minister and his party found a large crowd assembled to receive them. It was a crowd so anxious to see all that could be seen, that for once in their lives certainly, the Treasurer and his parliamentary guests submitted to and were plainly influenced by popular pressure. Mr. F, Utz, mayor of Glen Innes, welcomed the Minister and his party in dumb show, as far as we could understand : there was such confusion and crowding that nothing could be heard of the words of greeting. Mr. Dibbs managed to struggle through the press to a buggy behind the railway station, which he mounted; and, when the murmuring of the crowd, and the noise of its contendings permitted speech, he said in his official capacity as Acting-Minister of Works it had become his duty to declare that extension open for public traffic. In doing he, he begged to congratulate the people of Glen Innes on the accomplishment of their hearts’ desire. They were now connected with the metropolis of New South Wales with an iron band (cheers) ; and he hoped that the union thus effected would prove to be for the happiness and prosperity of the people. He declared the line to be open, and called for three cheers for the Queen, which were lustily given, as also cheers for the Ministry, Mr. Dibbs, and the Mayor.

A procession headed by the Glen Innes band was then formed, and passed round the pretty little town. Glen Innes occupies a position in the middle of the undulating valley before noticed; judging from the glimpse we got of it, it is a thriving, clean, substantial place, containing fine buildings which adorn broad streets crossing each other at right angles. An extension of building towards the railway station has evidently taken place lately. On arrival at Tattersalls Hotel, the procession halted and the Minister and his friends ascended to the balcony overlooking the street. Before serious business was begun, healths were drunk in champagne, and then the party emerged on the balcony, beneath and before which an immense concourse had gathered in the street. The newspaper men with some difficulty succeeded in gaining access to the ministerial vicinity, for an usher, more zealous than polite, seemed disposed to think that all the world wanted to pass the charmed portal under the guise of reporters, for he demanded from genuine reporters such proofs of identity as might have been difficult to procure, if insisted upon. However, a few stern reproofs from resolute press men brought this Glen Cerberus partially to bis senses. The business in hand was the presentation of addresses. One from the Mayor and Aldermen contained warm words of welcome to Messrs. Dibbs and Abbott, the latter also having been expected, and suggested a disclosure of the Ministerial mind respecting a Glen Innes-Inverell railway.

In replying, Mr. Dibbs referred to the illness of two of his colleagues, the Hon. F. A. Wright, and the Hon. J. P. Abbott, who were thereby prevented from attending on that occasion. He was therefore present as a deputy. Respecting the opening of the railway, which was the great feature of their festivities that day, he heartily congratulated the people of that part of the country on that event. The address contained a suggestion about the Government railway policy. At present he was not equal to the occasion, but before the proceedings of the day were ended, it might be that, induced by their generous hospitality, he might say something about the future of their railway. (Cheers.) He thanked them very much indeed for the genuine warmth and cordiality of their welcome.

Mr. Fergusson, M.L.A. for Glen Innes, also spoke, congratulating the people of Glen Innes upon the event of the day.

An address was presented by Mr. Maund, from the Loyal Hand of Friendship Lodge of Oddfellows, and suitably responded to by Mr. Dibbs.

Cheers were given for the Parliament, for the visitors, for the Mayor (at Mr. Dibbs’ call), and for Mr. Dibbs.

In answer to somewhat ironical calls, Mr. Luscombe, member for Northumberland, returned thanks on behalf of the Parliament. We regret to say that even so far inland as Glen Innes, the chosen of the minority of Northumberland was greeted with the contemptuous laughter of the profane, and was listened to with unconcealed scorn.

The ceremony of presentation being over, there was a general adjournment to the goods-shed, where under the catering skill of Mr. Cripps, of Sydney, a really sumptuous banquet had been laid out. Glen Innes had evidently determined to do the thing handsomely. The Mayor presided at a very large gathering, and after dinner the usual loyal toasts were duly honored.

The CHAIRMAN then proposed “The Ministry,” and referred to the fulfilment of the Premier’s pledge in taking office to submit a land bill to Parliament. A land bill had been passed by the Assembly, and would doubtless become law in a few weeks. He congratulated the Ministry upon their passing this measure through the Assembly. It was a difficult question to deal with ; the Government had not to frame s new bill, but were obliged to patch up a law which had been in use twenty three years, [A Voice: – No, no ; they didn’t patch it up. Another.- They abolished it.] (Hear, hear.) If we understood the speaker aright, for it was difficult at times, through the hum of conversation, to hear him, he said that the bill of the Government, was superior to Sir John Robertson’s law. He believed the railway policy of the Government would include a line from Glen Innes to Inverell. (Cheers.) He proposed the Ministry. (Cheers.)

The Hon, G. R. DIBBS,-rising from a seat which had proved deceitful, for during dinner it had given way, and let the Mayor and his guest down to the ground, – was greeted with continuous cheers. He said he had to thank the mayor on behalf of the Ministry for the hearty manner in which he had proposed the toast, and the company for its enthusiastic response. He supposed if he sat down, having said so much, those who had cheered him would hardly give him a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple. (A laugh.) Therefore he would add a few words about the Ministry, a few words about the land bill, and a few words about the railway policy of the Government. (Cheers. “We knew you would,”) – so far as he would be permitted to disclose it in the presence of some fourteen or fifteen members of Parliament. (Cheers.) With regard to the land bill of the Government (“The less said the better,”) they promised when they took office that they would do their beat to pass a land bill which would suit the wants of the country and remedy the evils of the existing law. He thought it was about this time last year that be was invited by the citizens of Glen Innes to a banquet, on the occasion of his passing through from Grafton. He promised them that the Government would do its best to pass a land bill framed on the lines of equity and justice. He believed that the Government had redeemed the pledge he then gave them (no, no ) ; and that the land bill, without having had a single principle disturbed which it contained when introduced, had been wisely amended by the patriotic efforts of members of the Assembly. The fate of the measure now rested with the House of Lords. [” What does he say – ‘the House of Lords?'”] The Government in introducing the measure had redeemed its pledge, and he had to thank the members for that district who were there that night for the great co-operation and assistance they had given the Government in passing the measure. He also thanked the members of Her Majesty’s Opposition present, for their attitude to the bill was, he was sure, conscientious, and they desired to make it as perfect as possible. (Hear, hear.) He would say no more about the Land Bill for the land question was not his forte. He was the controller of the Treasury chest, but for the time being he was also Minister of Works. Mr. Abbott, his colleague, the Minister of Mines, had on Friday left Sydney for the purpose of addressing the people of Glen Innes, and of going fully into the land question, He regretted, and they would also regret, Mr. Abbott’s inability to participate in that banquet, and to enlighten them on that measure. Then he had to regret the absence of his colleague, Mr. Wright (hear, hear), who accompanied him from Grafton to Glen Innes last year, and who he really believed laid the foundation stone of his illness by that desperate walk up the Nymboyd road. With regard to his other colleagues, as a matter of course it was impossible for all the members of the Government to leave Sydney at one and the same time. There were such things as pirates, and the ship of the State, if left unprotected, might be taken possession of by the enemy. The acts of the Ministry spoke for themselves; they had done the best for the people with the light within them ; they strove to administer their powers for the good of the country. (Hear, hear) Time alone would show whether they had succeeded or not in any portion of their labours ; or had succeeded in passing a wise and considerate land measure. But he believed the country was with the Government on that measure. The company had met that night for the purpose of celebrating a most important event in the history of any human being. They were met for the purpose of celebrating the union of the towns of Armidale and Glen Innes. That was a marriage ceremony of the utmost importance-binding these two towns together with a ring of iron. No doubt this marriage would be fraught with the weightiest results to the towns and to the country at large. He congratulated them on such a red-letter day for the people of the districts concerned. No doubt they were ready to bear what the Government policy was with respect to the Grafton and Glen Innes railway. Mr. See had been most solicitous for information during dinner, but he (Mr. Dibbs) had resisted the seductions of the member for Grafton, and had told him nothing. Mr. Fergusson, on the other bend, wanted to know about the Glen Innes to Inverell railway. It was not usual to make any statement of policy before it was made to the Parliament or the country within the walls of Parliament. But perhaps he might be permitted in the presence of so many members of Parliament, to depart a little from the custom, and yielding to the hospitality of Glen Innes, trust to these members of Parliament to defend him. It concerned the people of Glen Innes and the people of Inverell to know something about the Government railway policy. Before he sat down he might be be able to tell them something about it. He would take that opportunity, before a gathering of people deeply interested in the success of our railways, to make a partial allusion to a letter which left the shores of New South Wales, and had been published in – a paper in the United Kingdom called The Engineer. In this paper the writer had assumed the nom de plume of “New South Wales,” and he informs the English people that our commercial position is unsound, that its policy ¡s protective and not freetrade, and that our railway lines are only made by political jobbery. The writer of that letter, a resident of New South Wales, had dared to use as a signature the name of the province he bad traduced. He took that opportunity of publicly refuting the gross libel thus perpetrated on the commercial and political government of the country. He would say emphatically that it contained a wilful and gross misstatement, with regard to the financial earnings of the railways of New South Wales (hear, hear). There were unpatriotic men in all countries. In times of war, men had been found base enough to sell their country for a few hundred pounds, or to betray a fort or a garrison to the enemy. Whoever that gentleman might be (“Hit him hard”) he must be a man intimately acquainted with the question, because the facts and figures cited could not have been got at by an outsider. (VOICES. “Luscombe”) He would give the people of Glen Innes some idea of the amount of capital the colony had invested in railways and of the works completed and their cost. The total sum borrowed by this colony for railway purposes up to the end of 1883, was £19,188,000, of which sum £16,905,000 had been expended upon lines open at this present time. At the end of 1883, 1320 miles were open for traffic. To this must now be added the 63 miles opened that day, making a total of about 1400 miles, Before going further into statistics, he would ask those of them who had been young enough, to remember when the first sod of the first railway was turned by Lady Keith Stewart. That was thirty years since – a time quite in the memory of many men considered young to-day. When that first sod was turned he would have been a bold man who prophesied a great success for that railway between Sydney and Parramatta. But railways had grown since in New South Wales, so that in no part of the world had the energy and enterprise of the Anglo-Saxon to go ahead been more conspicuous. Railways had been pushed on with such force and such vigour that within thirty years we had climbed the mountains into New England, we had overcome the rugged fortresses of the Blue Mountains, we had surmounted difficulties that would have dismayed any but the Anglo-Saxon and the Australian race. (Cheers.) And now we had fourteen hundred miles of railway opened. At the end of 1883 we had 683 miles under construction. At the end of this year he hoped Parliament would at the instance of the Government have sanctioned the construction of 600 or 700 miles more. (Hear, hear.) The gross earnings of our railways last year reached in amount, if they did not exceed, the gross income from the custom house. Last year the gross returns from the rail- ways were £1,931,464. To obtain this enormous gross yield, which showed how largely our railways were used, and the vast amount of good which must accrue to the people who had paid this two millions sterling, an expenditure of £1,177,000 was incurred, which left say a sum of £753,676 as the contribution of the railways to the revenue of the country towards paying interest on loans and meeting the expenses of government. And, after paying interest on the money borrowed for the railways open for traffic, there was a profit from net earnings of £72,589. That was clear proof that the railways of the colonies would pay, and the paper he held in his hand showed that they produced direct and indirect benefits to the people. The figures he had quoted gave by themselves the lie to the gross libel on the colony of New South Wales which has been perpetrated by the person who had used those fair initials to traduce the character of this country. He would not weary them with figures, but he was defending the honor of the country, and would quote some more figures to confound those persons who would prevent our borrowing money in the home country. It had been alleged, but never proved, that we spend a large amount of our railway income for the purposes of what was termed renewal and maintenance, which should be charged to capital account. He held in his hand a return for 1883, which showed an expenditure of £214,000 for additions and alterations; but these were all new works. It had been alleged that we did not charge to working expenses the enormous sum annually paid for repairs to rolling stock. Last year we paid out of income for working expenses, renewals and repairs, etc., £237,000, We paid for ordinary maintenance, not special repairs, £251,000. These figures, when read in England alongside the libel in the Engineer, would give the lie to the libeller. Now, the views of the Government respecting railways were that the progress and prosperity of the country could only be secured by making railways from one end of the country to the other. The Government intended to submit a scheme for covering the flat plains of the interior with light railways, say 60lbs. steel rails to the mile, because the opinion of the Government was that such railways were not 20 per cent. dearer than the construction of ordinary roads. They should submit a scheme of light railways as a cardinal principle of their railway policy. In a sparsely-peopled country like this, the only way of developing the resources of the country, and of inducing population to go into the interior, was to make railway lines, consistent with efficiency and safety, as cheaply as possible. And now he must say one word about the extension from Glen Innes. He intended to submit to the Cabinet a proposal for a railway to join the town of Glen Innes with the town of Inverell. (Long continued cheering.) He had no doubt the Cabinet would adopt his suggestion-(cheers)-and that Parliament would approve (cheers); especially the members for that district. He believed the line would pass through some of the richest land in the colony, peopled by an energetic community. The connexion of Grafton with Glen Innes was a different question, and a more difficult. He would however recommend to the Cabinet a line from Glen Innes to Grafton (cheers), but he could not be sure that his colleagues would think with him in this respect. And it would be for the Parliament to sanction both lines. He thanked them for the patience with which they bad listened to him, and for the manner in which they had received the toast.

The toast of “The Parliament” was proposed by Mr. P. McCORMACK, and responded to by Mr. SUTHERLAND, M.P.; by Mr. LUSCOMBE, M.L.A., who denied that he had written the letter referred to by the Minister, and who spoke amid hisses, his assurance being apparently questioned; and by Mr. MURRAY, M.L.A., and by Mr. SEE, M.L A. Both these gentlemen said they thought the difficulties in the way of the construction of a line from Grafton to Glen Innes had been much overrated, and doubted whether it was really more difficult than the line from Tamworth to Armidale. They also dwelt upon the value of the trade which would become mutual between the districts, Glen Innes supplying wheat and taking sugar in exchange.

The remaining toasts on the lists were “Our Member,” “The Municipal Council,” “The Contractor,” “The Railway Department,” “The Visitors,” “Prosperity to Central New England,” “The Pastoral, Agricultural, and Mining Interests,” “The Press,” “The Chairman,” “The Vice-Chairman,” and “The Ladies.” We were obliged to leave to catch the return train, but we doubt whether the whole list was gone through, as the guests were, when we left, filing out, Oratory is not appreciated in New England. The proceedings of a day in which much heartiness and earnestness were shown, ended in a ball in the large engine-shed.

The bulk of the visitors left Glen Innes by special trains, some to come to Armidale, and others to proceed down the country. The Maitland travellers had a weary journey of eighteen hours, and the Newcastle gentlemen a further trial of endurance.

[1] Inverella Station (opened August 11th, 1884) was renamed to be Eversleigh Station a few months later, then again renamed to be Dumaresq Station (in 1888). GS.

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Written by macalba

November 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm

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