Deputation Mintaro Railway Station

On Wednesday morning, June 23, a deputation, consisting of the Hon. G. S. Kingston, M.P., Messrs. H. E. Bright, M.P., Thomson Priest, H. Jolly, and Wm. Bowman, waited on the Commissioner of Public works at his office with reference to the site of the Mintaro Station on the Northern Extension line of railway. Mr. Kingston having introduced the deputation, and stated its object, read the following memorial, a copy of which had been forwarded to the Commissioner:—
‘To the Commissioner of Public Works.
‘We the undersigned inhabitants of Mintaro. and of the District of Stanley, &c., having become aware that a memorial has been forwarded to you to the effect that the proposed site for the Railway Station near Mintaro is not the most convenient for the settlers in the neighbourhood or of the residents of Clare, beg respectfully to call your attention to the following facts:—
‘That the site already fixed on for the Railway Station near Mintaro is the most convenient for a large majority of the settlers in the neighbourhood and if the residents of Hill River and Clare, with out even including the population of the rising township of Mintaro; that should the Clare settlers be inclined (which is not at all likely) to send their traffic in the direction as named in the memorial which has already been presented to you, signed by them and others, the road from Clare to the site already fixed on near Mintaro is very far superior to any road they could take to a station from two to three miles north of this site, and not at any rate more than one mile farther, if that, and the Clare settlers would have the additional advantage of being able to convey more bulk on this road at one and the same time; that the majority of the Hill River traffic will be nearer to this already fixed on site, and have a far better road; that the road across Farrell’s Flat to a station two to three miles north of the already fixed on site is well known to be very bad, and in winter time impassable: and should a station at any time be placed at that distance from the already fixed on site a road of not less than two miles would have to be made across the Flat to the station; that the Farrell’s Flat settlers alone would be benefited by any such change as contemplated by them, and that in a very slight degree, except as to the value of their property, by forming a township, which we believe to be their chief aim; that the inhabitants and trade of the township of Mintaro would be seriously injured by such change, as the road from the township to the already fixed on site is a good one, and available to Clare, &c., as already mentioned, whereas the road from Mintaro to a station from two to three miles north is very bad even in dry weather, and almost impassable in wet, and farther in distance than the site already fixed on; that a large trade at present existing in the Mintaro Slate Quarry, and which will be considerably increased by railway transit, as also the other trades of the township, would be most seriously affected by the change of the station, and your memorialists can (looking at it in an impartial manner), for the reasons above adduced, only see that a portion of the Farrell’s Flat farmers alone would benefit from this contemplated change. Your memorialists, therefore, respectfully request that you will allow the site already fixed on for the Mintaro Station to remain unaltered.’
This memorial was signed by over 240 persons, resident at Mintaro, Hill River, Sevenhills, Penwortham, Leasingham, Watervale, Clare, Upper Wakefield, Farrell’s Flat, and the neighborhood. Plans having been exhibited showing the rival sites, it was explained that the chief grievance of the memorialists was that they should be required to go two and a half miles beyond the Mintaro township to reach the station as proposed, when the trucks had to come all that distance back again on the way to Adelaide. The station nearest to this south was Menoola, distant some eight miles. Mr. Bright, in supporting the prayer of the petition, urged that it was the duty of the Government, in laying out the stations, to make them as easy of access to the bulk of the population as possible. It was not to be supposed that settlers would go altogether out of their way beyond the township in order to reach the station, and he feared unless the Government yielded the point the railway would not be used. At the same time the memorialists would willingly accede to the erection of a station further north if it was thought necessary to suit the convenience of Clare and other neighbourhoods. Mr. Kingston put it that the demands of the neighbourhood ought to be considered apart altogether from the convenience of other localities, which ought to be made quite a separate question. Mr. Thomson Priest handed to the Commissioner a list of 130 names, which he said were bona fide settlers and lessees of land residing south of the proposed site, and no situation could possibly benefit them better than that already fixed on. Mr. Jolly called attention to the fact that if the station was removed further north the whole of those memorialists, or nearly so, would have to cart their produce north in order to send it south; whereas its retention would cause no inconvenience to those in the north, as they were near the line, and in winter the Mintaro people would be cut off from it if taken to Farrell’s Flat in consequence of the impassable state of the roads. If the station was removed it would suit them better to have a good road to Auburn, and to cart their produce to Tarlee. One of the opposite party had said to him that they did not care a pin about the station, but only wanted to establish a township on the Flat, and he did not think the Commissioner would do them the injustice to take the station away from an old-established township for this reason. In reply to the Commissioner as to whether there was sufficient land there to build goods-sheds, &c., Mr. Bowman said he was authorized by the trustees in the late Mr. E. Bowman’s estate to say that they could not sell the land, but would be willing to erect buildings thereon and let them at a reasonable rate. The Commissioner, in reply, said he was not able at present to give any decision upon it but he should certainly not make any alteration in the site unless he saw that it was unfit for the traffic or that by removing it it would give better accommodation to a greater number of the settlers. He had looked very carefully at the other memorial, and unless he saw they had the best claim the station would remain at the site fixed. In reference to Mr. Bright’s remarks, he might say that the line was constructed for the convenience of the settlers and the public, especially in the North, and their great object was to bring all the produce to it instead of having it carted on the main and district roads. He should, however, be happy to pay attention to any requirements that might be necessary for public convenience. They had tried to curtail expenses in erecting the stations, but if platforms at certain distances along the line were necessary for facility in loading or unloading, the Government would be very happy to afford that facility. He thought they might be satisfied with the remarks that he had made, and at present he had very little disposition to make any alteration of the station. Mr. Bright thanked the Commissioner for his courtesy and favourable reply, and the deputation then withdrew.