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Impregnability.

The capital of a nation is almost invariably the objective of attack to its enemies; and it is well within the bounds of possibility that from Australia's alliance with the mother country, the first great war in which England is engaged will lead to attack by flying squadrons on Australian cities and coastal towns. If the Capital be near to the seaboard, then its liability to danger will be enormously increased, and will prove a source of extreme anxiety to the Federal authorities. The commonest motives of prudence dictate the policy of placing the Capital of the Federation inland. Now Bathurst is protected by the natural fortresses of the Blue Mountains from inimical expeditions starting from the coast to the westward and southward, while the advantages of her central position designate her as the Arsenal of the Interior. When the railways projected and in progress are constructed, military forces can be converged upon her from the north, and south, and west without risk of interference with her communications from an external enemy. So, too, should necessity arise from the rapid transmission of troops from, say, Victoria


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to Queensland or vice versa. Complete the designed railways, and mobilization of the whole military strength of the Commonwealth, at any given spot from the north to the Victorian coast, would be possible, assuming the efficiency of military organisation, within three days. With the Capital placed in some spot contiguous to the Great Southern Line of Railway, it cannot be safely predicted that operations of the kind could be conducted with the same probability of immunity. Between Goulburn and the metropolis it would be possible for a small body of an enemy landing on the eastern seaboard to cut the rail communication in half-a-dozen places, and to retire unmolested, effecting its purpose and its return to the coast within twenty-four hours. A similar danger would menace the northern railway at three or four spots. No like risk would threaten the lines of communication which would converge upon and would ramify from Bathurst. To reach Bathurst direct from the coast would necessitate a foe conquering mountain passes which could be rendered impregnable at small cost; to reach it from the northward or southward would require an invading force of such overwhelming strength that it would require a combination of the military, naval, and commercial-marine forces of the three greatest European powers to effect its transport; for no one power alone, the exigencies of a general war being considered, could contemplate with possibility of success the seizure of the Federal Capital, if it were placed at Bathurst. While the Federal Capital remained untaken, Australia could never be subjugated, and Bathurst could be made absolutely impregnable at a cost to the national exchequer less by millions than would be required for the defence of any spot that has to depend for its safety of communication upon the intregity of the great southern trunk line of railway. A collateral issue of defence is that concerned with coal supply. Create the Capital at Bathurst, her coal supply, and that for her great inland communications, would be furnished by Lithgow, the defence ofthe coal mines of which place would form part of the scheme for the protection of the Capital. Place the Federal City in such a position that it must depend upon the perfect maintenance of the railways to the northward or southward, the interruption of these lines would deprive the Capital, in the matter of coal supply, of one of her main sources of power. With respect to defence, as with respect to situation and sanative characteristics, it can be fearlessly asserted Bathurst presents a claim at once comprehensive and irrefutable.— (See note as to the Bombala-Eden case).

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