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4-101 (Original)

Item metadata
Speaker:
author,male,Queenslanders,un addressee
ns1:discourse_type
Oratory
Word Count :
2435
Plaint Text :
ns1:register
Government English
ns1:texttype
Petitions & Proclamations
ns1:localityName
http://dbpedia.org/resource/Queensland
Created:
1886
Identifier
4-101
Source
Clark, 1975
pages
224-29
Document metadata
Extent:
14976
Identifier
4-101.txt
Title
4-101#Original
Type
Original

4-101.txt — 14 KB

File contents



<source><g=m><o=a><age=un><status=2><abode=nv><p=qld><r=gen><tt=pp><4-101>
To Her Most Gracious Majesty VICTORlA,
By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Empress of India, Defender of the Faith.
The Humble Petition of the undersigned, Residents of the Gold Fields of Charters Towers and Ravenswood, and the town of Townsville and other places in Your Majesty's Colony of Queensland,
SHEWETH, - 
1. That Your Majesty's petitioners approach Your Majesty desiring to express their loyalty to Your Majesty's person and Government.
2. That Your Majesty's petitioners have learnt that a petition is being prepared for presentation to Your Majesty on behalf of certain "residents and householders in Northern Queensland," praying that "Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to separate that portion of the Colony of Queensland north of Cape Palmerston from the present Colony of Queensland and to erect it into a distinct colony," such prayer being based mainly upon the following alleged grounds, that is to say: - That "Northern Queensland is both in population and in wealth well fitted to undertake the onus of self-government, and would have a firmer basis to stand upon than the Colony of Queensland had on its separation from New South Wales."
That "Northern Queensland is so inadequately represented in the Legislature of the Colony of Queensland that the inhabitants therein have practically no voice in the arrangement of their own affairs."
That "the inhabitants of Northern Queensland have, out of their own resources, to pay the interest on large sums of money borrowed by the Government of the said Colony and used principally for the benefit of the southern portion thereof."
That "the seat of Government is situated more than 1,000 miles from the majority of the towns and cities of Northern Queensland."
That "the interests of Northern Queensland, as a country of exclusively tropical productions, are at variance with the interests of the southern portion of Queensland, and that in consequence of such variance the development of the resources of the North is hampered and its general progress is retarded."
That "the Government of the Colony has not only failed to supply suitable labour for the requirements of the tropical agriculturalists" (that is the sugar-planters), "but has prohibited them from taking steps to procure such labour for themselves; that large acreages have in consequence been thrown out of cultivation; that there is every reason to apprehend that in a short time these properties will, in consequence of the action of the Government, have to be abandoned." [225]
3. Your Majesty's petitioners have also learnt that another petition is being prepared for presentation to Your Majesty; on behalf of certain "residents in the electoral districts in Northern Queensland, praying that Your Majesty will be pleased to direct the creation of the Northern portion of the Colony of Queensland into a separate colony," such prayer being based upon the same alleged grounds as mentioned in the said first-mentioned petition, with the exception that no reference whatever is therein made to the tropical productions of the Colony, or the desire of the owners of sugar plantations for coloured labour.
4. Your Majesty's petitioners have also learnt that on or about the fourteenth day of January, 1885, a letter was written by certain persons named "J. Ewen Davidson and J. B. Lawes, on behalf of themselves and others interested as investors of a large amount of capital in the north-eastern seaboard of the Colony," and addressed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, Your Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, expressing' "their sympathy with the present movement for the separation of the Northern or tropical from the Southern or temperate portion of the Colony," and urging in favour of such separation reasons similar to those stated in the first paragraph hereof, and stating inter alia as such reasons "that there are millions of acres of rich land along the northeast sea-coast covered with tropical jungle of no use for pastoral purposes, and which can only be utilised for tropical productions by the means of coloured labour," and that "this coloured labour is denied to the inhabitants of the North by the representatives of the South," and that "the inhabitants of Northern Queensland are anxious to obtain coolies from India."
Your Majesty's petitioners verily believe that the said B. Ewen Davidson and J. B. Lawes and other persons interested as aforesaid are either the original promoters, or in league with the original promoters, of the said petitions for separation mentioned in the first and second paragraphs hereof. 
5. That the movement for the separation of Northern Queensland leading to the said petitions originated a few months ago in the district of Mackay, which is an 'agricultural' district in which the cultivation of sugar is prosecuted to a considerable extent, and is promoted, as Your Majesty's petitioners verily believe, only by persons interested directly or indirectly in the cultivation of sugar, or who are either actually engaged in the production of sugar, or have purchased or selected land with a view of holding the same for the purposes of speculation, intending to sell at a large profit in case the importation of Indian coolie or other coloured labour should be authorised by law. [226]
6. That until recently the sugar-planters of Queensland have been accustomed to import coloured labour for their plantations from the islands of the South Pacific, but in consequence of gross irregularities - almost rivalling the atrocities of the African slave trade - having been permitted by the planters, the Government of the Colony has been compelled to insist upon regulations being observed with which (although not going beyond what is indicated by the plainest dictates of common humanity) the planters find themselves unable to comply, the consequences being that they must abandon the mode of cultivating sugar by a species of semi-slave labour, which they had heretofore adopted, for some other method less incompatible with the institutions of a free country such as Your Majesty's Australian colonies are.
7. That at the last general election of members of the Legislative Assembly of the Colony, held in the year 1883, the question of the importation of Indian coolie or other coloured labour for sugar cultivation was the most prominent question before the constituencies of the Colony, which, in Northern Queensland as well as in Southern Queensland, decided by very large majorities against such labour by returning as their Parliamentary representatives members pledged to oppose the introduction of coloured labour of any description, whether Kanaka, Chinese, or Indian coolie.
8. That the sugar-planters being no longer able to obtain black labour, after their own peculiar fashion, and being assured of the hopelessness of inducing the Parliament of the Colony to provide them with any other than white labour, have raised the cry of separation of Northern Queensland, trusting that in the event of their movement being successful they may in a new colony possibly obtain that which it is perfectly impossible to obtain under present circumstances.
9. That Your Majesty's petitioners verily believe that in consequence of the well-known antipathy of the majority of the inhabitants of Northern Queensland to the introduction of coloured labour, and the great improbability of ever being able to induce them to advocate the separation of that portion of the Colony, on that ground, the promoters of the separation movement have had resort and are now resorting to the expedient of concealing their real intentions, as far as possible; and with that object they have promulgated the two petitions mentioned in the first and second paragraphs hereof: the first mentioned petition being intended for signature by the inhabitants of Mackay and other sugar-growing districts, where there is no necessity to conceal the real motives of the promoters, and the other petition being intended for signature by the inhabitants of other parts of the Colony, who would probably refuse to sign it if the real motives of the promoters were revealed, and hence the suppression from the second petition of all reference to the question of coloured labour. [227]
10. That although situated geographically within tropical latitude, Northern Queensland, except a narrow strip of land on the coast, seldom extending more than twenty miles inland, differs entirely from what is generally and popularly known as a tropical country. That the only lands fit for agriculture are the narrow strips along the coast, which form but a very small proportion of the whole Territory. That the area of mineral lands already known is of much greater extent; and gold, silver, tin, copper, and other mines and minerals are found and worked to a very large extent, That the greater part of northern Queensland consists of pastoral land, similar to the pastoral land of Southern Queensland and the other Australian Colonies. And that the climate of Northern Queensland is generally healthy and salubrious and the country is in every way and undoubtedly fitted to be occupied by white people.
11. That, although Your Majesty's petitioners are convinced that in case of necessity the inhabitants of Northern Queensland are able to govern themselves as a separate colony, yet Your Majesty's petitioners verily believe that it would be much more beneficial to the North to remain a portion of the present Colony than to be separated therefrom.
12. That, although the representation of Northern Queensland in the Legislative Assembly of the Colony is not so great as Your Majesty's petitioners believe it ought to be, yet Your Majesty's petitioners deny that any real injustice has been done to the interests of the North since the coming into power of the Ministry of Mr. John Douglas, and they affirm that during that interval of eight or nine years very large sums of public money have been expended in the construction of Railways, Harbours, Public Buildings, and other Public Works, quite as much as could reasonably be expected under any possible system of Government, and that the reasonable wants and wishes of the inhabitants of the North have been in all cases carefully and promptly attended to by the Government of the Colony.
13. That in the years 1878 and 1879 a system of local self-government was instituted under "The Local Government Act of 1878" and "The Divisional Boards Act of 1879," under which municipalities have been established in all parts of the Colony, there being no part of the Colony not included within the jurisdiction of either a Municipal Council or a Divisional Board (the members of which are elected by the people themselves), who have full power to raise money by rates or loans for all purposes, and to expend the same at their own discretion upon such works as they may deem best.
14. That in consequence of this system of local self-government the inadequacy of representation of the North in the Legislative Assembly of the Colony has been less prejudicial than was formerly the case when all local works were authorised and undertaken only by the central Government. [228]
15. That Your Majesty's petitioners therefore deny that there is any truth or foundation whatever in or for the statement that the inhabitants of Northern Queensland have practically no voice in the arrangement of their own affairs.
16. That Your Majesty's petitioners deny that the inhabitants of Northern Queensland have out of their own resources to pay the interest on large sums of money borrowed by the Government of the Colony and used principally for the benefit of the Southern portion of the Colony. Your Majesty's petitioners submit that it is impossible for any Government to expend money equally over all portions of the Colony; that the very idea of a community precluded any such system; that the North no more contributes the money spent in the South than the South contributes the money spent in the North; that the money spent all over the Colony by the Government comes from a common fund, and Your Majesty's petitioners verily believe that for many years the common funds of the Colony have been expended in fair proportion amongst the various portions of the Colony, so far as it has been possible in a political community, and that if the said prayer for separation were granted the very same observation might then be made by the northern portion against the southern portion of the then new colony, and with as much show of justice.
17. That whilst Your Majesty's petitioners are fully aware of the inconvenience of having the capital of the Colony so far distant from some portions of it, Your Majesty's petitioners submit that the difficulty is one that must necessarily arise in all cases where a country is so sparsely populated and the means of internal communications are so limited as in Queensland, and Your Majesty's petitioners verily believe that the same inconvenience would be experienced for the very same reason in the event of Northern Queensland being constituted a separate colony by all persons except those residing in or near to the capital.
18. That Your Majesty's petitioners would point out, however, that Brisbane, the present capital of the Colony, has been connected by telegraph with all portions of the Colony, and that, therefore, for all practical purposes of communication, it is quite as near and accessible as any other place can possibly be.
19. That Your Majesty's petitioners deny that there is any conflict whatever between the interests of Northern Queensland or the interests of Southern Queensland other than such as are necessarily involved in the idea of a political community, or that the development of the resources of the North is hampered or its general progress retarded as alleged. [229]
20. That Your Majesty's petitioners Submit that, even if there were any truth or foundation in fact whatever in or for the grounds for separation of Northern Queensland, set forth in the first paragraph hereof, such grounds would not be sufficient to warrant the disruption of the Colony, since the complaints are such as, if true and reasonable, are capable of being remedied by the existing form of government.
21. That Your Majesty's petitioners verily believe that a very large majority of the inhabitants of Northern Queensland are opposed to its separation from the Colony.
Your Majesty's petitioners therefore humbly pray that Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to refuse to accede to any request for the separation of North Queensland from the present Colony, or for any other dismemberment of the Colony.
And Your Majesty's petitioners will ever pray.
<\4-101><\g=m><\o=a><\age=un><\status=2><\abode=nv><\p=qld><\r=gen><\tt=pp>

http://ns.ausnc.org.au/corpora/cooee/source/4-101#Original