Agitation re mail

Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Friday 30 March 1855, page 5





A special general mee ting of the Chamber of Commerce took place yesterday afternoon, at the temporaiy Exchange Rooms, Collins street The meeting had been exiled by the chairnun, A. R Cruikshank, Esq, in compliance with a requisition signed by several members of tin Chamber, asking lum to convene ono for tho purpose of considering the advisability of posi-tioning tho Legislative Council to place upon the estimates a sum of money sufficient to ensure permanent and speedy postal communication be tween Gieat Britain and the wholo of the Aus tralasian colonies A laigo number of members attended, and were prosided over by Mr Cruik-


* The minutes of the last special mooting having been read and confirmed,

The C H AIRMAN read the adi, ertiscmcnt con-

taining the requisition and replj, and then stated that the meeting being now in possession of tho object for which it had boen caUul, ho might mention that at tho last special meeting of tho Chamber Mr. Hammill was requested to confer with the Sjdacj Chamber of Commerce on the subject of obtaining quick mail communication with England 1 hat gentleman was no* proscnt, and, in addition to other particulars, was

ready to give na account oí the result of his


Mr. HAMMILL said, that at the last mooting the Chamber did him the honor to request him on his visit to Sydney to confer with the Chamber of Commerce there upon tho b«t ultana of obtaining speedy mail conmunication with England. Ho had the pleasure of having several interviews with the Sydney Chamber, and it afforded him the high-est gratification to find himself received as the representativo of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce in so cordial a manner. Ho was assured that the Sydney Chamber would warmly co-opcrato in any scheme having such an object in view, without any reference to a partioukr routo, priority of arrival, or port of departure, but join with Melbourae m the cndcuvui ui, all events to got steam communication. (Hoar, hear.) He found that a select committee had been appointed, and was engaged in reporting tho best means of obtaining regular steam commuaication betweeu the Australian colonies and England. They found that the Chamber had begun at the wrong end, and that it was cxpodicnt to memorialise tho local governments of the various colonies to grant a Him of money sufficient to subsidize a company or companies to carry out the main object. The Sydney Chamber agreed, and took stop3 similar to what the Melbourne Chamber was now doing. He (Mr. Hammil!) thought it was all-important to enable the Legislative Council to express the -vions of the Chamber, so that Melbourne might take tho lead in this import int movement, and a sum bo placed upon tho Es . limâtes, which would act as a guide to the other colonio?. He did not in the least doubt that

¿35,000 could bo obtained as this colony’s partion ol’the subsidy; and that Sydney would give ¿30,000 ; Aran Diemcu’s Land, £15,000 ; South, Australia, £15,000 ; and New Zealand, £5,000. These items would amount to £100,000 ; und ho was certain that no less a sum

would be sufficient to enable any company i to undcrtako what waa required. If such a pro-ject were entered into, there was a prospect of

^pccdy Intercourse with England. Ho had bsea , in communication with Mr. Edmond, tho Supír- i intendent of tho Peninsular and Oriental Com-

pany, and had had several interviews with the representativos oi tho local companies,-more especially tho Australian Steam Navigation Company,-and thero appeared to bo no difliculty lu carrying it out. [Mr. Haimnill then lead a letter from Mr. Edmond, referring to the correspondence which had taken place between tho P. and O. Company and the British Govern-ment on the subject of the Australian mails ; and the following enclosure, boing the opinion of Mr. Anderson, one of that company’s managing directors :–]

Pinn lor establishing a Semi-Monthly Steam PvB’.ftl

Communication with Australia.

Tho delay which has bien experienced in the c3 ? tnblishmcnt of a Postal Communication with the Australian Colonies corresponding to their oom . meioiul, social, and politioal, may be tracod to three principal causes :

1st. To the ovnlliotlng opinions whioh havebeen prcmulgated as to the best route, the ovcrlunl or Indian route, the Capo of Good Hope routo, the Panama route, have each had their strenuous adtocates ; and the adoption ol an elllcient and oo-nprehtiidivtí communication on any one of thOdo routes has couBequtnlly been embarrassed aad


2iid, The jealousy existing between the respec-tive colonies, more particularly between Near South Wales and Victoria, In respeot to finir loo ii interests in any arrangements of a Postal comm x. »icatlon with the mother country: Melbourne (Victoria), desiring, naturally, to have the comma. Bioatlon arrangea so aa to give her tho bene It oi her geographical position in shortening Un transit to and trom England, while Sydney (New South Wales) desires that the route shall be BO airaoged as to make that port the last point 0¡ departure and first point of arrival ol t)>- maita Hence the community ol Sydney have advoojtad tho eastern rjute by Torres Stra.tS Tor fho oin

ttiiiation«» -“.’, Z~’.T’ ««»»WW JW* Adelaide, for obvious reasocB, pre i er the wuot-rn routo by Cape Leuwin. Sydney, also, with a view of being the first point of arrival a£d last of depar. turc, has advocated the route «io Panama.

These conflicting views havo, in a groat measure, proven ted that cordial practical co-operation among the respective colonies which was desirable to ef-fect the establishment of a postal communication adequate to their wants and importance.

3rd. The opinion which has been hitherto entertiincd, both by tho horne and colonial Govern, monts, ned also by a large proportion of the colo-nists, thai the trafilo with Australia presents Buoh advantages and attractions to steam naviiuiion enterpriso that postal oommunioati’jn would roon bo obtained by all the varioui routes referred to on extremely moderato terms, and that thor-*, ioro a postponement of any permanent arrange, ment was expedient.

‘J ho occasional proposals to the Govomment o£ parlies projecting steam companies, but who, oa being put to the test, failed in muking good their pretenrions, has also bcon a ouuseot delay aal


Experience has now served to sottlo Borne of the TOGBt material controverted points, and to oorroot opinions as to others.

The route «ia India and Suez has been proved to resacas the advantages of certainty and stoe-rtneas

I transit to and from Europe, as well as that of onneoting Australia with India, China, the

Straits’ settlements, and other important placas in the east It will a’.so, as will be presently pointed out. be the cheapest for a postal commu-nication,

With respect to the supposed inducement! ti private Bteam enterprise to open up comtnuuici. tiona with Australia, the consequences to thoie companies who have tried it have been such as ti λresent but little enoouragement for others to

ollow them.

Passing by the fate of the unfortunate Austra-lian Bteam Navigation Company, whioh WM partly, perhaps, attributable to mismanagement, the following faots will, no doubt, servo toohcatc any sanguine expectations of a profitable result from steam navigation to Australia, unlesä wall assisted by payments for postal services : namely,

A company (The Australian Pacific Company) who purposed to open a communication with Aui. trolia, uia Panama, has abandoned the enterprise, sold the vessels whioh they had constructed for I’., and are winding up the concern.

The General Bcrew Company, »vho had contraoted to convey the Australian mails on alternate months, via the Caps of Good Hope, on the plan of being re. numerated by a share of the postage, were, as is well known, on the point of abandoning the o JUtract, even if the hiring of their vessels by the Government for the war service had not fortunately aiforded them an opportunity of doing so without pecuniary prejudice.

The Peninsular and Oriental Company, »vho wera the first to propose, and the first to establish, a regular steam communication »vith Australia, after an experience of little more than two years, find they have incu -red by it a IOSB of about forty thou, sand pounds ! They havo consequently readily availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by the impi eäsment for the war servioe of a number of their vessels deBtined to reinforce their postal service fleet on the Eastern Seas, and being there. I by deprived of tho meaw of motntalning the oom.

munioation with Australia, to obtain a suspension

of it.

The Australian oolonies, therefore, although the most valuable, in a commercial point of view, of any British dependencies, having an import trade from England alono to the extent ot fourteen and a-halt millions, annually, having a coloniol revenue of £J,000,oao, »nil apóstol revonueestimated at £200,000,rapidly increasing- find themselve-‘, alter various unsuocefsful experiments made to connect them hy postal communication with Europe and theme thercountry, destitute, ot present, of any such


This circumstance has called the attention of all partios interested to the necessity of adopting some prompt practical measures for the establish-ment of a syst”m ol steam postal communication with Australia, adequate to the wants and im. portanoe of these colonies.

In deoiding on a plan for this purpose, it ap-pears to bo essentially necessary to keep ia view Iho following objects : –

1st. To select a route whioh has proved, after a teat oruxpericnoo, to haiha moBt advantageous far regularity and general utility.

and. To form such arrangements as shall unite the greatest amount of co-operation ol the priuoipal colonies in its favor.

3rd. To render the amount of pecuniary all from the imperial exoheqner, towards its mainten ance, moderate.

These objects, it ÍB submitted, will be met by the adoption of the following Plan: –


A monthly line betweon Ceylon and King George’s Sound, to be established by the imperial Government. The ve-sel to be of the average speed ot ten knots, and to ply in conoert with one ol’the semi-monthly lines of postal steamers run-ning between Calcutta and Suez, the Australien mails to bo tran-ferred to and from the Caloutti Suez stoamers at Point de Galle.

The Australian steamers to proceed direct from King George’s Sound to Point de Galle, and to re. turn ria singapore, according to the arrangement lately ia operation for the suspended two monthly communication.

King George’s Sound being thus made the terminus of the communication to be provided by the imperial Government, the oolonies to provide fir the conveyance of the nulla botwecn that point and Sydney, and tí and from the intervening ports el’ Adelaide, Melbourne,and Launceston (Van Die.

men’s Land!.

By this arrangement a monthly communication will be established by the weBtcrn rou te w ith the whole of the colonies

It will, InwevLr plica Sydney the farthest off lroni Europe both in the reooipt and despatch of lier correspondence, and, in order to compensate the important co«ony of New bouth Wales for this disadvantage, and place her on a par with the other colonies it is proposed that a


To be run once a month alternately with the first line, shall bo established by the eastern route su Torres straits between Sydney and faingopore to be also provided by the colonies,-the imperial Government providing for the conveyance of the mails by this line between Singapore and Europe

By this plan the whole of the colonice, with the exception of the small one of Western Australia, -whioh would, however, have a monthly mail lia King George’s Sound,-would obtain a BOtni monthly steam postal communication w ith Indu China, the btratts, England, and all other parts of feurope

Tlie proposed arrangement of a western an I eastern routo alternately, would, it is submitted so far meet the hitherto jarring claims of t le respectivo «lonies, as to lead to a cordial 01

operation of the whole in the establishment of that part of the communication proposed to b1 provided at their expense

It would open to colonial steam enterprise that Which has become a desideratum in Australia,-a participation in the conveyanc of th°ir owa


Proposals for the formation of a colonial coat pany to run a Uno of steam vessels between Sydney and King George’s Sound and the intsr. mediate ports oi Melbourne, Launceston, and Adelaide, havo already been forwarded to th* colonial Governments, and there are sufficient means in steam vessels now In the colonies to form such a Une

Parties in Sydney are also prepared with suit

able vessels to establish a monthly line between that port and Singapore, by the eastern or Torres Straits route, on a reasonable subsidy from th* colonial Government


The financial aid whioh would be required to maintain the oolonial branches ol the commuaioatlon ivoulcl, it Io oatlniatoil. Tint nmount tO i larger Bum than could be very well afforded out oi the colonial revenue,-and which, in fact, they bave already proposed to contribute to the im-perial exohequer. The cost would bo merely that of the monthly line between Ceylon and KlnjGeorgc’s Sound.

The arrangement for the second, or Sydney ail Bingaporo communication uicr Torres Straits, would cost the imperial Government nothing, ai

the mails would be taken up and delivered at Singapore by the China line of Bteamers already esta-blished, and thence be conveyed by them to aad from Ceylon for transfer to and from one of the semi-monthly lines of postal steamers running

between Calcutta and Suez,


The following tabular statement will show the number of days to be oooupied, under ordinary circumstances, in the postal transit between the respective colonies and London, via Marseilles, by each of the proposed routes, by steamers of 10 knots, including stoppages at the various inter-mediate ports of junction and the transit actos i Egypt :

From the Ports of

DayB transit to London.

By the

West Route East Route

By the

New Zealand* . Bydney . Melbourne. Adelaide . Albany (K. G.’s Sound)… Perth, by ditto_…

53 52 55 53

not avallbl.


. A steamer has commenced running between Auckland and Sydney, making the passage in five to five and a half days.

A chart ot routes is subjoined for further expla-



As the progress of the war will, it is to be hoped, be suoh aB to enable tho Admiralty before long t} diBpenae with the services of a sufficient number of the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s vessels now employed in the war, to enable that company -with those and other vessels which they have in course of construction to undertake that portion of the service forming the proposed monthly com-munication between Ceylon and King George’s Bound, her Majesty’s Government may anticip ita being in a position to carty into effect that part ot the arrangement at as early a period as the colo-nial Government will be prepared to effect their portion of It.

It is therefore suggested that tho much vexed question of steam postal communication with Aus. tralla may now bo disposed of on the part of the imperial Government by on offer to establish a semi-monthly communication on the plan herein proposed osBoon ns tho oolonial Go»-ernment3 slull notify their willingness and ability to provide that portion of the conveyance allotted to colonial means and enterprise.

(Signed) A. ANDE1130N.

He (Mr. Hammill) submitted that the plan relcrrcd to had at least the merit of being practi-cable, and the proposal to odopt the route »in

| Torres Straits once a month would place the

colonies in tho position of having a semi-monthly mail. Tiley would see that the P. and O. Com-pany was ready immediately to carry out what they proposed, and the Australian Steam Naviga-tion Company would, if properly subsidized, do their part ; and he had been assured that their Steamers, the City of Sydney and Wonga Wonga,

‘could bo made aVtti!»«e »* * Tf”° “^ %.,

Mr. BOWDEN: How mun, íftV8 coal TW they carry ? ‘

Mr. .HAMMILL : About fifteen da}^’ coil. Having now submitted to tho meeting a feasible plan, by which tho important object of steam communication with England might be obtained by tho colonies if they chose to help themselves, ho thought the Chamber might well afford to do nwuy with any discussion upon the best route, .especially as the Sydney Chamber had set au 4>xainplc. The latter, although expressing a prei iutunos of the Vuuama route if it, could be male

-n,Ar. bat

available, would not underrate any o

weroprepared to adoft any scheme rather ‘thin be without steam communication. {Hear hear ) He did not appear there to advocate the claims °i ?i.1I’-?üd 0# C,°,mp5ny; his obJcct was to show that if they could monago to subsidize suffi “1cntly aiy company or companies, the materials existed forcirrymg out successfully a matter of such vital iniportuuce. Ho would oven sujrsaät that the tenders should be open to the whole world ; but for the present he wished to intimato that the Chamber had an immediate motiva to

get a sum placed upon the estimates. ;

Mr. DAVID ¡HOOKE thought that the teran

of the requisition expressed clearly the objects of the meeting, and that there was no necessity to go at length into the subject. It wus generally acknowledged that the object of the meeting wa? merely to ascertain whether it was desirable to adopt a petition to the Legislative Council to put a sum upon the estimates for the further-ance of steam communication with England, rather than to consider which should be the route. Although they had been favored by Mr. Hammill with the correspondence just read, he would sug-gest that they had not met to discuss which wa* the most desirable route, but rather, as the repre-sentatives of the trading community, to petition the Legislature to assist them out of their diffi-culty, and by placing nu amount upon the esti-mates remedy the inconvenience to which their class was at present subjected. At this stage it would be unnecessary to say more, and he would now submit to the meeting a form of a petition, with the view of effecting the main object. [The speaker read a petition, which, however, was subsequently amended in several par-ticulars.] On the subject of the amount of the voto he might say that he cordially agreed with Mr. Hammill’s estimate. He saw the necessity of Victoria taking the load, as the loading Australian colony, with the mo3t flourishing revenue, and the greatest means ; and considered they were warranted, by the position of the colony, in asking for a sum of £35,000 to bo placed upon the estimates. AYhen ho con-sidered the retrogade effect which had been pro-duced by the colony being deprived of tho regular communication which it for a Bhort timo enjoyed.hofcltthatitwas the duty of Government to furnish the means of restoring it. And indeed it was the interest of the public to second and support an effort in such a direction, oven by contributing a portion of the required amount, AYhen they took into account the great impetus to the interests of the colony which arose from the enjoyment of a mode of communication so different from tho miserable means previously afforded by sailing ships, he was sure that his suggestion would be generally adopted. Even now, when they had the advantage of sailing vcsacls upon which the highest amount of human skill had been expended, it was proved that wa were moro dependant upon winds and waves than formerly. Some short time back they might look with certainty to the 8th of the month for nows, but now nny casualty might

I protract the period to ninety days instead of

fifty. He would not sit down without alluding to the services which Mr. Ham;nill lind per-formed, and thought that it would be unbecoming if the Chamber did not register in the minutes of their proceedings an opinion of tho able manner iii which that gentleman had carried out theic views in ruguid t” a« ronference wl»< ‘!”. OJ-J

ney Chamber of Commerce. Ile thought, also, that their secretary should be instructed to express to the committee of the Sydney Chamber their thanks for co operating to effect the object in view. Ho considered that such a course was necessary, as an antogonistic feeling hadsprungup which itwas most desirable should not exist, and which must have been the result of misrepresentation ; for, as practical men of bu-siness, it was not likely that petty feelings would be allowed to interfero with and obstruct rapid communication with England by the world’s highroad.

Mr. M’CULLOCH seconded the motion to adopt the petition. He considered it a most favorablo point towards the accomplishment of their object, that they bad got tho Syduoy Chamber of Commerce and merchants gonerally to unite in petitioning the various legislatures to grant a sum sufficient to enable a company to carry out what was wanted. They ought not nowtodiscusswhioh was the best routo, or in what manner the object should bo carried out. He thought that £100,000 would bo suf-ficient to induce a company to come forward and take up the matter with spirit. Ho hoped tho legislature of this colony would agree to the sum proposed, but ho thought that it was not in accordance with the rules of the Council to fix any amount, and probably Mr. Mooro would consent to niter trie figures to ” suob. sum as the Council may think sufficient.” He nlso agreed with Mr. Moore that the Chamber should express an opinion upon the able man-ner in which Mr. Hammill had brought about the cooperation of the Sydney Chamber. They must include Adelaide, New Zealand, and in tact all the Australasian colonies, and ho ?would suggest that persons should bo appointed to wait upon the various colonial Governments, nnd got them to agree to abide hy the decision of delegates from every colony.

At the suggestion of Mr. Ilellicnr, Mr. Lord, and other members, the petition was verbally amended, and stood as follows :

To the Honorable the Legislative Council cf the

Colony of viotoria.

The petition of the undersigned members of the

Melbourne Chamber of Commerce

Respectfully showeth

That your petitioners, in common with the re3t of the community, are suffering the moat sorioui inconvenienue by reason of the withdrawal of all steam postal communication between this colony aid the mother country.

That the social and commercial interests of this colony demand the immediate establishment of such communication at least once a month.

Thut the only postal communication at present existing betwi’iii this colony and Europe, is that carried on by Liverpool sailing-ships, an arrange-ment which your petitioners submit l8 wholly uatulted to ihenquirtments of thisthe most impor. tant colony of the British Umpire.

Your petitioners, therefore, pray that yjur honorable Council will bestow upon this important subject your be it consideration, and adopc such measures IIB, taken in conjunction willi those suggested by the adjoining ooloniea, may be suffi-cient to oflord us the advantages of regulnr und a,.,.ia »nmTi<niqation with thocn countries with whioh our social and commercial roteruuu»» ia principally conneoted.

Mr. AY. P. AYHITE stated that, as the repre-sentative of the Australian Steam Navigation Company, bo was in a position to stuto that the company were fully prepared to tender the Bervices of their steamers to either King George’s Sound or Point de Galle. The City of Sydney and AVonga AVonga would bo selected as

the best.

Mr. BOWDEN made some observations op-posed to the terma of the petition, but as ho dis-covered that he was under some misapprehension in respect to what had fallen from Mr. Hamtnlll, he subsequently withdrew his opposition.

The adoption of the petition, as amended, was then moved by Mr. D. Moore, and carried unani-mously.

The petition was then signed by most of those present, and the meeting, which included many of the most influential merchants and traders of

our community, then broke up._


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