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Centrality.

Whatever may be the progress of Australia under Federation in settlement and wealth, and whatever its growth in population, it is certain that the centre of gravity, so to speak, for the whole Commonwealth for the first hundred years of national existence will be in some spot not far removed from Bathurst. At present, as a recent calculation has shown, nineteen-twentieths of the whole population of Continental Australia, with Tasmania, occupy an area, the geometric centre of which would fall within an hour's railway communication from Batnurst railway station. When it is seen that the area in question embraces the whole of New South Wales, of Victoria, of Tasmania, and the most populous portions of South Australia and Queensland, it also appears that Bathurst is situated so near to the exact centre that for all practical purposes of communication and transit it can be declared the central point of the populated territory which the Commonwealth would control were it established forthwith. During the next two or three generations it is exceedingly unlikely that there can be any concurrance of circumstances that will shift the point of centrality west of New South Wales borders, for though settlement must inevitably spread through great tracts of country as yet in their prairie state, yet it cannot overtake within a century the preponderance already gained in population by the southern, eastern, and western provinces. If the west, then, cannot gain upon the south, east, and north in population, it is impossible that it can reduce to any appreciable extent the ratio of disparity now existing between the two sections of Australia in point of social development, monetary status, and industrial expansion. To-day Bathurst stands at almost the mathematical centre of the provinces that have federated, whether they are viewed with respect to populousness, or to the mass of their wealth, industry, and culture. There is nothing to indicate that her position as the hundred-year-old Capital of the Commonwealth would be any more than fractionally altered, relation being had to the same classes of facts aud to normal conditions of development. In the future she will remain as she is in the present: Central.

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