Last modified on 20 November 2015, at 11:05

The Argus at KellyGang 24/2/1873 (2)

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An Irish labourer named M'Dennott in attempting to climb one of the trucks, managed to break his leg in a frightful manner; it was caught in the wheel and absolutely cut in half. There was no doctor present, and had it not been for the presence of mind shown by Major Smith, who manufactured a rough tourniquet out of a pocket handkerchief, the poor fellow would most likely have bled to death. From Violet Town to Benalla the road lay through dense forest, and was in many places so bad as to evoke unfavourable remarks from several of the party. And here the commissioner whose broad acres had been more than once the subject of comment came out strong. "It was not," he said, "a bad road. In order to prove this, he favoured the company with his idea of what a bad road was. "I call it a bad road," said he, "when you have to get a couple of ropes!"

Here somebody asked innocently enough what the ropes were for? "A rope round each wheel, made fast to a tree, and three or four saplings-say three saplings - lashed on underneath to keep the coach steady. Then you case her off down the hill, don't you see. The only thing is you can't get her up again that's the only thing." After this, somebody asked whether there would be much of that kind of road before we should get to Beechworth, because, if so, it might be well to leave the roach and horses behind as being a useless incumbrance.

At Benalla the sitting was held in the shire hall. Mr George Sharpe, president of the shire of Benalla, was the first witness examined. He was of opinion that auditors should be appointed by the councils, not by the ratepayers, although he was unable to say in what particular respect the regulations laid down by the Shire Statute were unsatisfactory. He thought, however, that the system of the election of auditors by the shire was costly, and he had known of several well qualified men, whose conscientiousness was such that they shrank from putting the shire to the expense of a contest. They had, however, had a contest last year. On the whole he could not see his way to the advantages of any scheme of government audit. His shire had had a credit balance at the end of last year, and they were not in the habit of overdrawing their bank account. He was therefore unable to offer any suggestions upon the subject of overdrafts.

With regard to the present mode of issuing the grant for main road construction, he thought it very defective. He quoted several instances in which roads had been completed, and the Government engineer had, unreasonably, as it appeared to the local body, refused the usual certificate. The inconvenience had become so great that the shire council was now constructing roads without making application for Government assistance at all. The council contemplated abolishing all tolls throughout the shire, and he should be very glad to see them done away with throughout the country. Hawkers' and auctioneers' licences should be issued by the local bodies, but some change should be made in the present system of licensing. The sum paid for district licences, for instance, might be less than that paid for a general licence, available throughout the whole colony.

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