The Argus at KellyGang 25/5/1866 (2)

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The Legislative Assembly had agreed to a committee, and the thin end of the wedge having been thus inserted, it only remained for them now to drive it home. It was shown by the evidence that there were no serious obstacles to be overcome in the construction of a railway to the Ovens District, and that even the present amount of traffic would pay for the outlay on the construction, and the purchase of the alienated ground through which it would pass; therefore it was their duty now to show the Government and the Assembly that they would no longer submit to be left without proper means of communication. It happened, unfortunately for them, that they were without sufficient representation in Parliament for this portion of the colony, but that only rendered it more imperative on them to act at once and decisively. There were many different views as to what particular route should be adopted, but he did trust they would, in consideration of the main question, allow such matters to remain in abeyance.

All they had to do was to fix the Government to a promise that they should have a railway to these districts, and let the route be considered afterwards. They ought to act in perfect unison for the sole object to have a railway from Melbourne to Albury, and to insist on having no temporary stoppage of the line at Benalla or elsewhere, Prompt action was all the more necessary, as a strong pressure was being brought to bear upon the Government to pledge themselves to a railway to Gipps Land ; and if they did not act speedily, they would be answered by Ministers with the information that they were too late, as the state had been already pledged to the utmost extent in the matter of railways. He would therefore move that the conference resolve themselves into a committee, to frame resolutions for discussion. Mr DE MOLE seconded the motion.

(The committee then drew up the resolutions afterwards discussed. As a great many of the arguments used for framing the resolutions were repeated in full conference, it will be unnecessary to report the committee's proceedings.)

Mr WOOD, on the conference resuming, proposed the first resolution:- "That this conference desires to express their regret and disappointment that another session of Parliament is about to close without any action haying been taken towards the initiation of a line of railway to connect the Ovens and Murray Districts with the capital city of the colony." He said that the resolution itself carried conviction on the face of it. They had only to ask what were the advantages conferred on the lower districts in order to establish the very strongest case for themselves. Not only had there been macadamised roads to other parts of the colony constructed at enormous expense, but costly railroads had subsequently been built in the same direction. All they wanted was even handed justice, and he thought another session of Parliament should not be allowed to pass without their having that means of communication to which they were so fairly entitled. Indeed, to establish their claims, so strong were they that they had only to make them known, and it was the object of that resolution to call the attention of the legislature and the metropolitan press to the neglect with which they had been treated. He thought it was full time that they expressed by a unanimous vote that they, as ratepayers, demanded something as on equivalent for the share they contributed to the revenue, and the establishment of a railway was the only way of giving them such an equivalent. He also suggested that a circular should be prepared, to be sent to members of Parliament, the merchants, ? principal men in the colony, setting ?th the salient points in the voluminous report of the Railway Committee, and any statistics bearing upon the point. He had much pleasure in proposing the resolution.

Mr LORRIMER seconded the resolution,

Mr NICKESS, as a delegate from Chiltern, and as a resident in what he considered one of the most important mining divisions in the colony, thought it incumbent on him to support the resolution. He could bear testimony to the fact that were it not for the rate of carriage, which almost shut out machinery, many acres of auriferous land would be worked with advantage that were now lying absolutely idle.


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