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North coast railway proposal condemned

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Tuesday 12 December 1905, The Sydney Morning Herald




GUYRA. Monday.

A conference was held in the School of Arts on Saturday for the purpose of protesting against the proposed construction of the North Coast railway, and to consider the advisableness of constructing a line from the tableland to the coast. The following delegates were present:- Aldermen Claverie (Mayor) and Waugh (Armidale), Messrs. A. W. Everett, S. McCrossln (Wandsworth), J. Piper (Llangothlin), W. M. Stevenson, J. N. Rae (Guyra), Merauut, Rogers (Glen Innes), J. Brazier, J. E. Bray (Aberfoyle), T. E. Solo (chairman Guyra Progress committee), and J. Roche (secretary).

Mr. Everett presided, and said there was not much hope of the North Coast Railway Bill being carried. At one time he favoured the construction of the line, believing that it would be necessary for defence purposes, but as it had been demonstrated that the invading force would be on a better footing than those attacking, there would be nothing gained by its construction.

Mr. Waugh said they should endeavour to block the North Coast line, on which the Government intend to waste £3,500,000 of public money. The Government proposed to construct a line in direct opposition to a splendid steamship service, that could deliver goods at Grafton for 10s per ton, whilst the railway could not do it for less than £3 per ton.

Mr. W. M. Stevenson stated that if a line was constructed from the coast to the tableland, thence to Inverell, and branch from Moree to Mungindi, the settlers in the drought-stricken area would be enabled to bring their stock on to New England in time of drought.

Alderman Claverie moved,-“That this conference condemns the proposed railway from Maitland to South Grafton, on the grounds that it could not possibly compete with water carriage, and it was not In the interests of the State that it should be made at all.”

Alderman Waugh seconded the motion. He said he knew the country thoroughly from Maitland to the Queensland border, having been all along the route. It was altogether unfit for agricultural purposes. Mr. McLean, manager of the Byron Bay butter factory, which turned out 80 tons of butter per week, had told him that If the Government constructed the line the company would not allow one pound of its butter to be taken by rail.

Mr. J. E. Bray thought It a piece of presumption on the part of a reform Government to ask the country to construct a railway Involving over £3,000,000, and which would probably run Into £5,000,000 before it was completed, knowing that it could not possibly pay.

The motion was carried unanimously.

It was resolved, on the motion of Mr. Brazier, seconded by Alderman Waugh, “That a conference be held at Glen Innes, at a date to be fixed, to which delegates from all parts be Invited, when the most practicable route from tableland to the coast shall be decided on.”

It was decided, on the motion of Alderman Waugh, seconded by Alderman Claverle, “That this meeting of delegates strongly favours the construction of a railway from the tableland to the coast, for the purpose of interchange of products.”

The delegates were entertained at dinner by the Guyra Progress committee.

Written by macalba

April 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm

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