TUESDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 1914
There need be no doubt that when the settlement of affairs comes about at the close of the war Australia will be called upon to finally take over the German territory, in and around New Guinea which she has now captured.
From many points of view this will be of great value to Australia.
So far as the German settlers are concerned, there is no reason why they should not become as friendly as the Germans who have cast their lot in Australia.
The Commonwealth Government, while in some respects it may alter methods of government, will respect the rights of property of the civilians who own land or factories in any of the islands.
The only alteration that it will probably find necessary to make is in respect to the oil companies which have been reported to be at work in New Guinea.
It is obviously desirable that these should become the property of the Commonwealth, and they will no doubt be taken over and paid for.
So far as New Guinea itself is concerned, it should progress well under the new regime.
The Dutch rule at one end of the island has proved satisfactory, and while Australia would have liked to own the whole of New Guinea, it realises the perfect friendliness of the Dutch people.
One difficulty that must present itself, however, is that the new Commonwealth possession is conducted on a system which is foreign to that of the portion lately known as Papua.
The system of freehold has been in force there, and so far as the lands which have been parted with under this method are concerned, must continue.
It will no doubt be easy for the Commonwealth to apply the leasehold system to the large area of land as yet unalienated in Northern New Guinea, but the existence of the two methods may lead to difficulties in the future.
It is a question whether Australia should not consider the desirableness of specially encouraging settlement in New Guinea by grants of land.
The population of the Commonwealth itself is still far below what it should be, and there is the Northern Territory standing almost empty.
In taking over not only the northern portion of New Guinea but the fine groups of adjacent islands Australia is in possession of territory which should immensely expand her trade, if they are quickly developed.
It has also to be remembered that it is desirable and necessary that these island possessions should return a revenue which will be at least commensurate with the cost of Government and of defence.
For the first few years the seized territory must rely upon the exchequer of Australia, although it may be expected that it will ultimately handsomely repay the Commonwealth.
The defences of the islands will also entail a considerable outlay. The Australian Navy will always be a great safeguard in the Pacific, but the principal ports of Northern New Guinea and the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago will need land fortifications.
It may be hoped, as the result of the tremendous conflict now being waged in Europe, that for the next fifty years or so there will be no need to fear attack or invasion.
But the events of the past few weeks have taught Australia a lesson which she will not forget. She will, without going to any excess or any display of militarism, be careful to see that her naval and land defences are kept up to the mark.
The people of Australia will realise that the cost entailed is necessary. The islands will also need civic rulers when peace is declared, and the upkeep of officials, police, and native troops will have to be borne by Australia until such time as the islands are made to defray their own expenses.
Capital will, however, be needed to develop them, and it is for this reason that it may be found necessary to depart from the principle of leasehold.
Steps are being taken in high circles in Great Britain to deal with the vast body of French and Belgian refugees landed on the shores of that country.
The Imperial Government has been in communication with Australian representatives, and asks specifically that New South Wales should bear its share of this portion of the general Imperial burden by finding temporary homes for 2000 widows of officers and soldiers who will be destitute while war conditions continue.
In some cases the refugees whom New South Wales is asked to take would have one or two children, and the ages of the mothers would not exceed 35 or 40.
Although this is not a matter in which the Government of the State can act as a Government, Ministers have felt justified in assuring the Imperial authorities of the readiness of the citizens of this State to do their share.
It is now desired that ladies throughout New South Wales who would be willing to receive those people, either as guests or servants, will communicate for further particulars with Mrs. W. A. Holman, or the secretary, the Premier's Department.
Under the auspices of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, a large and representative gathering of Newcastle consignees of cargo in German vessels detained in other ports was held yesterday at the chamber of commerce. Mr. W. A. Winn was voted to the chair. Mr. H. C. Langwill, president of the chamber, was unable to be present at the opening of the meeting, but attended at a later stage.
Mr. E. Flynn. secretary of the chamber, read a large amount of correspondence which had passed between the Newcastle and the Sydney Chambers of Commerce and the Crown Solicitor, in reference to the various consignments of cargo.
A discussion ensued as to the best means to adopt to bring the cargo to Newcastle, as to whether it would be better to have it transhipped at Melbourne, or to bring the vessels in which it was contained to Sydney and Newcastle.
It was thought by some that while it might be in the interests of Sydney consignees to bring the vessels to that port, it might suit Newcastle consignees better for the cargo to be transhipped at Melbourne.
It was difficult, it was pointed out, to arrive at a conclusion in regard to this without knowing anything definite as to the quantity and value of the cargo consigned to Newcastle.
It was decided, however, that the steamer Altona might be left out of that consideration as she has none for Sydney, but 965 tons for Newcastle.
Eventually it was decided, on the motion of Mr. Langwill, seconded by Mr. Howard Ash, to form a committee to make inquiries to ascertain what arrangements could be made at least expense to consignees, whether to bring vessels to Newcastle, or have the cargo transhipped at Melbourne, and brought on by interstate steamers. The members of the committee are Messrs. A. Goninan, C. A. Earp, W. A. Winn, H. Ireland, and A. N. Pidgeon, with Mr. Flynn as secretary.
It was also decided to ask all consignees to forward to Mr. Flynn, at the earliest possible moment, particulars relating to weight, measurement, and value of their consignments, and the names of the vessels in which they are contained.
A meeting of the general committee of the Newcastle centre of the Red Cross Society was held at the council chambers, Watt-street yesterday afternoon. Mrs. John Reid, the Mayoress, in the chair.
The hon. treasurer, Mrs. H. Berkeley, and the hon. treasurer, Mrs. R. Davidson, presented their reports. Mrs. H. J. Cannington and Mrs. A. Stewart, secretaries for the soldiers' bag section, reported they had sent away up to date 237 soldiers' bags, 7 hospital bags, 8 bags of hospital comforts, and 250 pairs of socks; also 58 kit begs had been sent to Sydney.
The treasurer reported having received up to date £421 6s 11d, and paid out £100 to the Belgian Fund. Mr. Keith Wood reported that the gross takings of the concert given last Thursday would amount to over £570. Votes of thanks were accorded to Mr. Keith Wood and Mr. Hannell, and also Messrs. Dix and Baker, Mr. Scott, Mr. Cannington and Mr. Corrigan for their assistance at the concert.
It was decided that letters of thanks be sent to the Hunter River S.S. Company, the French, Belgian and Russians Consuls for their donations of flags, and to Mr. Kingsborough for the use of his workroom and employees for a week to sew.
A letter was received, saying that all bags sent from Newcastle were beautifully packed, and quite came up to the standard. It was unanimously agreed to send £500 to the Red Cross Society in England.
A concert in aid of the funds is being arranged by the ambulance corps at the racecourse camp for Thursday evening. The meeting terminated with a vote of thanks to the Mayoress.
A very successful plain and fancy dress ball was held at Mosquito Island on Saturday night last in aid of the Newcastle Patriotic Fund. Mr. Joseph Dempsey placed his large residence, “Erin's Isle," at the disposal of the committee for the occasion.
The ladies' committee, comprising the Misses Deamer, Ross, Croese, Dempsey, and Jones, wore dresses representing all the nations engaged in the present struggle, and they were very appropriate and brilliant.
The Misses Deamer prosecuted a very vigorous sale of patriotic bouquets. Mr. Jurveschefsky, a resident of the Island, presented the committee with a fretwork bird cage of unique design to be disposed of in aid of the fund, and tickets sold rapidly.
The opening march, led by "Britannia" was an attractive sight. Mr. Joseph Turner was M.C. The committee hope to be able to hand in a satisfactory sum to the fund in a few days.
Dancing was indulged in till midnight, and at the close the "National Anthem" was heartily rendered by all present.
(Date extracted from Unit Embarkation Roll)
Driver Henry Sheridan, Hamilton - 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade Train