Old news from Armidale and New England

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Cross-country railway.

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Friday 19 August 1910, The Sydney Morning Herald

Mr. A. Hooke, of Tia, writes our Wingham correspondent, amongst others, is just now evincing a keen interest in a suggested railway line to connect southern New England with Port Stephens. In connection with the proposal, he has prepared the following figures :- Glen Innes to Grafton, 115 miles, estimated cost £1,812,903; Glen Innes to Grafton, 128 miles, estimated cost £1,715,058; Guyra to Grafton, 156 miles, estimated cost £1,726,677; Armidale to Kempsey, Trial Bay, 167 miles, Wollun to Woodside, 80 miles, Wollun to Woodside, via Upper Tia, 95 miles.

It may be granted that any railway from Woollun to Woodside or Wingham will go past a certain point on the watershed of the Tia, Yarrowitch, Manning streams, and approximately at the head of the Swampy Creek. This is the junction of two routes brought forward, but the direct route is 15 miles shorter. There is little difference between the two in value to the district, as they are only about ten miles apart at the widest part.

Three or four industries loom very prominently on the horizon of the future in connection with a line from Wollun to Woodside. All along the line from Walcha to Cells Creek potatoes can be produced to perfection, and the absence of diseases in cold climates would ensure the success of such crops. Thousands of tons could be grown, as the soil is suitable all along the route. Oats also prove prolific, and Manitoba wheat grows well-as also do field crops, such as turnips, mangels, beet, etc. The main range, at the head of Swampy Creek, is over 4000ft high and exceedingly rich, and apples can be grown there in a manner that defies competition. The timber industry is also right on the spot – the belt is about 20 miles long, and the route runs through the middle of it. Hardwoods abound on the north side, and softwoods, cedar, beech, etc, on the south.

At the present time, from a mill situated 50 miles from Walcha-road, 20 teams are carrying constantly, and ten times the quantity could be sold if it could be taken away. If it pays to get timber under such conditions, it only goes to show the genuine demand that exists for it, and with rail carriage the public would get the benefit, and a very large trade must result. The Forestry Commission two years ago assessed the value of this timber at £8,500,000, which is a very fair reason for asking better transport to market than at present exists. There is more money in timber if this railway is constructed than has been dreamed of in the past; but men who cannot get on the land have to look on at those golden opportunities rotting away, because a policy of extreme economy has guided the work of railway construction in the past. If Port Stephens is made a port for shipment of timber, coal, and wool, as is suggested, the whole of the New England wool could be put on board there, saving 150 miles of extra rail carriage to Sydney.

Written by macalba

May 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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