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Governor Weld was called away to the Governorship of the Straits Settlements in the month of May, 1880, and the colony was temporarily administered by the Chief Justice, Sir Francis Smith. He was relieved in the month of October following by Sir J. H. Lefroy, who remained in the colony until the month of December, 1881. With the exception of a sharp conflict between the two Houses of the Legislature over questions of taxation in 1882, there is little left to record of importance. Sir J. H. Lefroy's term of administration ceased on the 6th December, 1881, and on the following day Major Sir George Cumine Strahan was sworn in as Governor, and continued in office till the 28th October, 1886.

During the period extending from 1882 to 1889 valuable discoveries of mineral deposits were made in the western portion of the island, notably silver-lead at Mount Zeehan in 1885 ; gold and copper at Mount Lyell in 1886 ; and silver and lead at Heazlewood River in 1887. This period was also marked by considerable activity in railway construction. In 1886 a law was passed which had the effect of greatly extending the franchise. The number of members of both Houses of the Legislature was increased—from 16 to 18 in the Legislative Council, and from 3.2 to 36 in the Assembly. At the same time the boundaries of the Electoral Districts were re-arranged so as to give more effective representation in accordance with the distribution of population.

Sir George Strahan retired from office on the 28th October, 1886. Until the return from England, in November, of the Chief Justice, Sir William Dobson, the Government of the colony was administered by Judge Giblin. The Chief Justice continued the administration till the arrival of Governor Strahan's successor, Sir Robert Hamilton, who assumed office on the 11th March, 1887.

The unsatisfactory relations which had so long existed between the Government and the Tasmanian Main Line Railway Company were terminated in 1890 by Government purchase of the line for å sum of £1,106,500, payable in 3 per cent. inscribed stock. 1890 also witnessed the foundation of the Tasmanian University. As it was thought that the interests of higher education would be more satisfactorily promoted by a local University, the Council of Education was abolished, and in lieu of the Tasmanian scholarships Parliament granted an annual sum to the funds of the new institution. In June several important discoveries of silver were made and arrangements were immediately entered into for the further development of the deposits. The suspension of the Bank of Van Diemen's Land, which took place on the 3rd August, 1891, was the precursor of numerous failures in city and country. Several financial institutions were compelled to close their doors and business in the last months of the year was depressed and unsatisfactory. This was particularly unfortunate, as the early part of the year gave promise of a large

The year

measure of prosperity. The export of fruit, chiefly to England, had increased three fold in three years, and the West Coast mining districts showed satisfactory development. Mineral production increased through the opening up of the extensive silver deposits in the Zeehan, Dundas, and Heazlewood districts. The General Election took place in May, and the fifth Ministry which had held office since the 30th March, 1887, returned to power with a good working majority. Parliament, which was for the first time elected for three years instead of five as formerly, was opened on the 14th July, the session being remarkable for the number of syndicate bills passed into law. Owing to the fact that the takings on the Tasmanian Main Line were for the first time included in the receipts, the revenue for the year showed a satisfactory surplus, while it was as much as £140,000 in excess of that for 1890.

To meet the requirements of the West Coast mining districts in the matter of transport, a railway line was constructed between Strahan and Zeehan, and was opened for traffic on the 14th February, 1892, while the extension from Zeehan to Dundas was ready on the 25th April following. The Parliamentary session of 1892 saw the downfall of the Fysh Ministry, who were defeated by a majority of four votes on the 15th August. On the 17th a new Ministry was sworn in under the leadership of Mr. Henry Dobson. The incoming Treasurer found the revenue returns hardly encouraging, and at the end of the year was obliged to announce a heavy deficit, which was the forerunner of a period of depression. Sir Robert Hamilton left the colony in November, 1892, the Chief Justice, Sir W. L. Dobson, taking over the administration until the arrival of the new Governor, Viscount Gormanston, in the following year.

Although the acute financial crisis experienced on the mainland in 1893 was not felt so severely in Tasmania, the colony nevertheless suffered to some extent from the prevailing depression. The Tasmanian banks, however, remained secure, and the Australian institutions with branches in the island were amongst those that weathered the storm. But in consequence of the diminished purchasing power of the people, imports greatly decreased and the necessity for economy became every day more apparent. Fortunately the exports showed a great increase, and the inauguration of an export trade in butter gave a great stimulus to dairy farining. The year generally was favourable to agriculture, and the yield of wheat was almost equal to local requirements. There was a large increase in the mineral industry, and the copper deposits at Mount Lyell were beginning to attract attention. But the public revenue, especially as regards the railway receipts, was undergoing serious shrinkage, while the failure to float a loan in London, which had been authorised in 1892, further embarrassed the Government, although a large amount of the money required was subsequently obtained locally. By general agreement the third session of the tenth Parliament, which opened on the 18th July, was to have been devoted chiefly to a consideration of the financial position, but a conflict between the two

Houses interfered with this programme. The Government intended to meet the falling revenue by additional taxation, but after being adopted by the Assembly the proposals were in part amended and in part wholly rejected by the Legislative Council. The chief subject of dispute was a graduated land-tax, which the Council refused to pass, and radically altered the Bill providing for it so as to include 12,000 land-holders previously exempted. This interference with a money bill was resented by the Assembly, and the Government decided to appeal to the country on the question of its taxation proposals. The result of the elections found several of the old members rejected, but all the Ministers and the occupants of the front Opposition bench were returned. It was, however, too late in the year for the proposals to be carried into effect, and the financial statement disclosed a deficit which brought the total debit balance up to £362,118. Parliament, however, dealt with some useful legislation in a Consolidating Mining Act, a Patents Act, and a Crown Lands Act, while the Mount Lyell and Strahan private railway was also sanctioned. Viscount Gormanston arrived in Tasmania in August, and was sworn in as Governor on the 8th of that month.

The first session of the eleventh Parliament was opened on the 27th February, 1894, both sides of the House recognising the question of financial reform as being of paramount importance. The financial proposals, which in the previous session had brought about a Constitutional crisis, were again placed before the House. In Committee the Bill to authorise a graduated land-tax was thrown out and the Government thereupon resigned. Sir Edward Braddon, who had given up the Agent-Generalship the year before to once more enter the arena of local politics, was sent for and succeeded in forming a Ministry, which was sworn in on the 14th April. In consequence of the dissension in the previous Cabinet, the leadership of the Opposition was entrusted to Mr. V. E. Lewis. The new Ministry at once set to work on the financial question. The Income Tax and Probate Bills of their predecessors wero adopted in their existing form, the latter being rejected by the Council, and a land-tax was imposed of one penny in the £ on all land. This general tax was adopted as a sort of half ineasure towards the unimproved capital value basis which was at first mooted. A special session of Parliament was held for three days in November, with the object of passing a tax on the unimproved value of land, but the proposal was Thrown out by the Council and the Government were apparently satisfied that in introducing the measure they had redeemed their promise to the country. Financially the colony was still in an unsatisfactory condition, and economy was practised in every direction. The stoppage of public and private works and the restriction of expenditure caused a dearth of employment, and in consequence recourse was had to the land for a means of livelihood. The area under crop was thus increased in 1894,. and the agricultural industry received a welcome stimulus. A revival in the timber industry also took place, and a trial shipment of hardwood for paving purposes realised very satisfactory prices in London,

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Encouraged by this success further shipments were made, and a trade was established which has since proved a source of considerable revenue. On the 15th November the Tasmanian International Exhibition was opened at Hobart and proved a great success, numerous visitors being attracted from the neighbouring colonies.

The opening months of 1895 were characterised by a more hopeful tone in commercial and industrial relations, and a general improvement took place in the colony's financial position, which was maintained throughout the year. Taken as a whole the year was favourable to agriculture, although prices were low during the first six months. There was a substantial increase in the export of fruit to England and the other colonies, and the butter trade also underwent expansion. The timber trade also grew in importance with the opening up of fresh markets in various parts of the world. A considerable amount of capital was introduced into Tasmania by the steady development of mining, and deep sinking for gold in some instances was attended by very successful results. During the year the financial position of the colony materially improved, and the Treasurer was able to declare a surplus, principally through the increased Customs and Railway receipts. In February, a Conference of Premiers held at Hobart drew up a Federal Enabling Bill, providing for the election of the Federal Convention. The Bill was placed before Parliament in July, but it was deemed advisable to await the decision of the other colonies before proceeding further in the matter. In May the Tasmanian Exhibition was closed, after remaining open for several months and being the means of making the resources of the colony better known to the outside world.

On the whole, the year 1896 was a prosperous one for Tasmania, and it seemed as though the years of depression had been definitely left behind. The railway receipts were again far in excess of expenditure, and the general financial transactions of the year left the Treasurer with a surplus of £47,732 to be applied to the reduction of the deficit. Wheat returns showed a large increase on the yield of the previous year, and for the first time in many years Tasmania had more than suficient for local requirements. Steady and systematic progress was also noticeable in the mining industry. The importance of connecting the mining districts with the main railway system was recognised by Parliament, and authority was given to a syndicate to construct a railway to the Western Districts on the land grant system. A special Parliamentary session of three days was held in January for the purpose of passing an Enabling Bill providing for the election of delegates to the Convention. The session proper only lasted from July to September, but a number of useful consolidating measures were passed and a further attempt was made to institute the unimproved value of land tax, but without success.

At the beginning of 1897 the General Elections were held, when the "Hare" system of voting was employed for the first time. Practically

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three sessions of Parliament were held. The first, in Mareh, lasted only three days and was called together in compliance with the Constitution Amendment Act, which provided that Parliament should meet 90 days after its election. In July, the Draft Commonwealth Bill, as drawn up by the Convention at Adelaide, was discussed and returned with the amendments proposed. The third or general session opened in October, and was characterised by an extraordinary Ministerial crisis. In defiance of the opinion of their own Attorney-General, and in face of strong disapproval from the Opposition, the Government had adopted a certain course of procedure in regard to some land transactions with the Emu Bay Railway Company. A motion of want of confidence was thereupon proposed, but by a clever manipulation of parties the Government succeeded in having added to the motion a sentence stating that the House did not intend to censure Ministers. The motion was carried in this amended form, and the Government under its terms felt justified in still retaining office. They were able, at all events, to point out that their rule was coincident with the continued prosperity of the colony, and another surplus was registered at the end of the year. sequence of a drought which lasted nearly the whole year, there was a rise in the prices of agricultural and dairy produce, and the production from crops was small. The timber industry, however, still continued to expand and steady progress was noted in mining.

The drought of 1897 was succeeded, in 1898, by a series of destructive bush-fires, which were attended both with loss of life and extensive damage to property. But, though many settlers were burnt out, they returned to their holdings and with indomitable energy set to work to repair their losses. Happily there was an excellent rainfall in winter and spring, which proved particularly beneficial to crops. The financial year was a distinctly favourable one, the expanding revenue enabling a further reduction to be made in the deficit. Parliament met in May, but adjourned shortly after for the taking of the referendum on the Federal question. The result of the voting showed a large majority in favour of the Bill. During the year an extension of the railway between Burnie and Ulverstone was authorised, the line forming a connecting link between the western system and the main line. In 1898 Tasmania lost the services of one of her most esteemed public men by the death of Sir Lambert Dobson, the Chief Justice, which took place on the 17th March.

Early in 1899 Parliament again adjourned for the referendum, which resulted in a heavy majority being polled for union, the voting on this occasion being-Yes, 13,021; and No, 779. The same year witnessed the downfall of the Braddon Ministry, the action of Captain Miles, Minister for Lands and Works, in connection with the Macquarie Harbour Bar scheme resulting primarily in the Minister's resignation of his portfolio and seat, and secondly in the defeat of the Government on a motion of censure. Mr. (now Sir Elliott) Lewis was entrusted with the formation of a Ministry, which was sworn in on the 31st October, and is still in

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