The Cootamundra - Gundagai -Tumut Railway
12 June 1883 The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser
(From the Cootamundra Liberal.)
At a recent meeting of the Cootamundra Vigilance Committee, the advisability of taking active steps to urge upon the Government the necessity of at once commencing the construction of the Gundagai-Cootamundra railway line was mooted.
A general opinion was, however, expressed to the effect that as the matter was in the hands of Messrs. Bruce Smith, W. T. Poole, and G. Withers, it would be more prudent not to interfere.
Mr. Smith, it was said, would do all he could in the matter, because he always pushed on everything connected with the electorate; and Messrs. Withers and Poole, the members for South Sydney, would do so, because they have large mineral interests at Gundagai.
Since the Vigilance Committee came to this conclusion, Mr. Bruce Smith has obtained from the Government an assurance that the plans and sections are nearly ready, and that tenders will be called for as soon as practicable.
No doubt this looks satisfactory enough, but the Vigilance Committee will have to be more than usually vigilant in this matter, because there is a clique in Gundagai, the members of which are prepared to go to any length in order to delay the construction of the line now that they know the Engineer-in-Chief will not place the station where they like - namely, in a hole from which it would be impossible to extend the line.
We must not be misunderstood on this point. While the clique to which we allude - who are opposed to all progress that does not immediately put money in their pockets - are deserving of condemnation, those who endeavour to keep the traffic as much as possible in the town merit sympathy, and should, so long as the public interest does not suffer, be supported.
If the station be eventually erected at Spring Flat, another town will grow up there, and the value of property - at North Gundagai at all events - will be greatly depreciated.
Some time ago we announced, on good authority, that the line would be brought round the eastern base of Mount Parnassus to a point near the Royal Alfred Bridge; and this would have been, no doubt, carried out had the project not, with astonishing folly, been ridiculed by the Gundagai Times, the proprietor of which journal would have been greatly benefited by having the station on the site indicated.
Subsequently Messrs. E C. Allman and Mr. J. W. Benson, the chairman and secretary of the Gundagai Progress Committee, had an interview with Mr. Whitton, when he stated that the station would be left out somewhere to the north of the town.
Mr. Allman expressed himself content, but we think he was too easily satisfied, because, from what we know from other sources, we are convinced that - if, instead of writing the letter which he did to the local journal, he had convened his committee and induced them to take action - the plans would have been altered so as to bring the line to the Royal Alfred Bridge.
This would have benefitted every property holder in the business portion of Gundagai, from the viaduct to pass Messrs. M. Walker and Co.'s mill.
Instead of doing so be allowed himself to be ' bluffed ' by Mr. Whitton, who no doubt enjoyed a hearty laugh in his sleeve.
Mr. Allman is a gentleman remarkable for his shrewdness and business tact, and all we can say is that the Engineer-in-Chief deserves infinite credit for having 'had' him, for it was no easy task.
From reports which have from time to time been made to the Department, it is clear that there are only two routes for an extension to Tumut that found favour with the engineers and surveyors, namely, via Sandy Falls, or via the Gadara Forest.
Now, as Mr. Whitton speaks of an extension from Gundagai, it is clear that he has discarded the former route; and, as he admits that he intends taking the line to Spring Flat, he could not better carry it to Tumut than round the eastern base of Mount Parnassus, crossing the river at or near the present bridge, traversing the valley of the Murrumbidgee to a point near Adelong Crossing, and then running via Gadara into the town of Tumut.
This route would have considerable advantages over any other. It presents no great engineering difficulty; it would open up a large extent of rich land, and a district abounding with mineral wealth; and it would bring the line within a few miles of Adelong.
These facts clearly point to the Gundagai station being eventually at the bridge.
It makes no matter to us in Cootamundra where the station is placed, but we have thought it advisable to point out the above facts to our Gundagai friends.
The interest of the people here is to see the line commenced at once.
The town, in common with all others in the colony, is dull at the present time, and the railway works would give a great and appreciable impetus to trade.
There is another reason why the people here should wish to see the line begun, viz., that, until it is, our new station will not be erected.
Besides, when the Gundagai line is fairly commenced, the Government can be urged to undertake the first portion of the Cootamnndra - Wilcanoia railway - that as far as Temora.