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§ 171. “Astronomical, &c.”

“It is very desirable that we should have uniformity throughout Australia with regard to these things. I am not so much wedded to the astronomical, but, in regard to the meteorological observations, it is most essential that there should be uniformity throughout Australia. On a former occasion I pointed out that one of our best observers, Mr. Wragge, was very anxious we should have these observations in Tasmania. There was no obligation on the part of the Tasmanian Government to establish these observations on Mount Wellington, but there is a general consensus of opinion among the best men that these observations would be invaluable to Australia. Why should the Government of Tasmania be called upon to meet an expenditure of this kind when it is admitted by the best men in Australia and elsewhere that these observations would be of more value to Australia than they could be to Tasmania, which happens to be the position from which they could be taken? If there is anything which ought to be the subject of a Commonwealth law, it is these observations, which will undoubtedly prove of great value to shipping and other interests of Australia.” (Sir J. Abbott, Conv. Deb., Adel., 1897, p 775-6.)

“With regard to the astronomical observations it is very important that they should be under Federal management. Take the case of the United Kingdom at the present time. There we have an observatory at Greenwich which I apprehend is the chief northern observatory of the empire. There is an observatory in Dublin, and another in Edinburgh, both admirably managed institutions, but we do not hear of them conflicting with the observatory at Greenwich, which maintains the paramount position in the United Kingdom. The same is the case with the Washington observatory of the United States. So also we should have an observatory in the Commonwealth which should rank before the other observatories. It commends itself to our intelligence that there should be a federal observatory, to take precedence over other observatories. I think there are obvious reasons that the meteorological observations should be placed under one general control, and I trust that the Convention will not object to the clause as it stands.” (Mr. C. H. Grant. Id. p. 776.)

51. (ix.) Quarantine172:

HISTORICAL NOTE.—“Quarantine and the establishment and maintenance of marine hospitals” is specified in sec. 91 of the British North America Act (sub-s. 16). “Quarantine” was one of the subjects which might be referred to the Federal Council of Australasia under the Act of 1885. It was included in the Commonwealth Bill of 1891, and in the Adelaide draft of 1897. At the Sydney session, Mr. R. E. O'Connor thought the sub-clause should be restricted to infection from outside, and moved to substitute “Public health in relation to infection in contagion from outside the Commonwealth.” This was negatived by 19 to 13 votes. (Conv. Deb. Syd., 1897, pp. 1071-3.)




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