previous
next



  ― 03 ―

Note Prefatory.

THE following pages—those reflecting the beauty of the photographer's art not less than those which clothe more or less pertinent words with the dignity of type, are really An Argument.

They constitute together an argument Why Historic Bathurst, with its gracious neighbourhood of mountain, and hills, and plains; with its suggestive associations with a not undistinguished Past; with its promise of a splendid Future; with its salubrious climate and its scenic beauty, should be chosen by the legislative wisdom of Federated Australia as the site of its Capital; An Argument Why this fair City, already notable for much that men value, should be made immeasurably more notable still by being elevated into the position of

“The Treasure-house of the Nation's Heart.”

And if it be said that the Argument is superfluous, because Bathurst is excluded by reason of “the one hundred miles radius” from the sites open for choice, the rejoinder must be made, that it has yet to be determined by the ultimate Authorities whether Bathurst is definitely thrust out by the Constitutional provision (Sec. 125 of the Constitution Act) defining the distance-radius, from any possibility of selection.

Is it to be supposed that a nation of free men, working through their free institutions, would afflict themselves unnecessarily for all succeeding generations by choosing a site of only secondary interest and importance, when the enlargement of the area of choice by a few miles would provide a site of transcendent value, whether considered from the point of view of practical importance, or sentimental interest? The one hundred miles' radial limit cuts off part of the suggested Bathurst Federal Territory from superficial consideration, but does any reasonable being doubt that if it can be shown that the Bathurst Federal Territory and Bathurst Capital site possess a supreme advantage, the Federal Legislature would not obey the Spirit and the Principle of the Constitution, and make choice accordingly, even though the letter of the law would insist that, for the sake of a mile or two, the superior location should not be regarded?

To assert that the Federal Legislature would choose an inferior site, from a pedantic rigidity of interpretation, would be to declare that that august body would be lacking in some of the first elements of statesmanship.

To choose the place whereon to erect a stately city, worthy to become the Shrine of a Glorious National Ideal, will be a duty demanding the consecration of the highest powers of our National Legislature. Insight, Largeness of


  ― 04 ―
View, Boldness of Conception, Mastery of the Practical Problems of Sanitation, Building Construction, and Transportation, all moulded by and subject to a sense of Beauty in Architecture, will require to be the qualities brought to bear in the performance of that ennobling and enthralling task.

The men whom the Nation calls to that task will surely not lack either the judgment or the courage to say, if need be, to the people of Australia: “Enlarge the radial limit from Sydney by a fraction, and we will give you a perfect site for Territory and Capital!

And the enlargement of that limit by a mere fraction would remove, I do not hesitate to say, almost every objection to

  Bathurst as the Capital of the Commonwealth.

   THE PUBLISHER.

Note.—Since the foregoing was written, it has been pointed out in the public press that the New South Wales statute in reference to distances directs that these are in all cases to be determined by the nearest practicable road, and that by such measurement Bathurst is 124 miles from Sydney. It is further contended that, had the Commissioner taken his measurement from the usual starting-place—viz., the obelisk in Macquarie-place—instead of from “the west boundary of the city of Sydney.” Bathurst would be found to be outside the 100 miles' radius “in a straight line on a horizontal plane,” to quote the Imperial Interpretation Act.

previous
next