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“Australia Unlimited”

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Cairns Post (Qld.), Wednesday 7 March 1945

In his 35-page book on the Clarence River hydro-electric gorge scheme, Sir Earle Page. M.H.R., a member of the Australian Country Party, has introduced into the murky atmosphere of politics that gleam of combiner idealism and common sense which is as refreshing as it is scarce at the present moment. In a masterly review of the publication. Hon. D. H. Drummond, M.L.A., Deputy Leader of the New South Wales Country Party, comments that the book contains more challenge to thought, to constructive criticism, to courage and to imagination than any other one thing that has been produced during the whole period of the war. It makes the other plans for post-war reconstruction look like midgets of ineffectual vision. Whether the critic will agree with the Doctor, or whether he win disagree, he will find himself forced up against the question which the Japanese menace still points, viz., that if Australia and Australians do not tackle these things in a big way, they may never have the final opportunity of completing them even in a small way.

Sir Earl draws pointed attention to the lack of an electrical connecting link between Sydney, the greatest Australian manufacturing city, Newcastle, its great coal and power producing centre, and Brisbane, the centre of Queensland’s industrial activity. Briefly his suggestions for immediate action are the linking up of Newcastle and Brisbane with a 66,000-volt power line, via Werris Creek, Armidale, Glen Innes and the Clarence Gorge, with another line of 165,000 volts as far as Werris Creek, then of 68,000 volts as far as the Clarence Gorge, and from thence to Brisbane of 165,000 volts.

The question of an immediate market for the total output of the gorge hydro-electric development would be completely changed if it were an integral part of the Newcastle-Brisbane high voltage transmission system. Brisbane would be immediately able to purchase a substantial portion of the whole output, and the balance would be absorbed locally or utilised in the general transmission system.

A study of the data, says Sir Earle, will show the high priority of the undertaking. A consideration of its immediate and remote benefits will demonstrate that, though this dam, when constructed, will be the largest in Australia, it will immediately prove fully reproductive from its inception. This is due to its geographical position, combined with the economic progress that the development of both primary and secondary industries in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales has already attained.

He visualises in the main scheme the full development of the watershed of the Clarence, which includes, not only the Clarence Gorge, Jackadgery, Nymboida and other reservoirs, but also the Styx hydro-electric scheme on the Macleay, and a number of other subsidiary schemes which all will contribute their share to the ultimate development of the area. It is estimated that if the major scheme is ultimately developed to the full, in the case of the gorge proposal, a dam 320 ft. high would impound 3,400,000 ac. feet. This does not probably convey very much to anyone until it is realised that the storage would be equal in capacity to three dams of the size of the Hume on the Murray River, and would, very closely approximate to the famous Assuan dam on the Nile River of 4,000,000 acre feet.

(Contributed by the Australian Country Party, Queensland.)

Written by macalba

September 28, 2011 at 8:08 am

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