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TRAMWAYS.

In all the Australasian states tramways are in operation, but it is chiefly in Sydney and Melbourne, the inhabitants of which numbered at the latest date 496,990 and 501,580 respectively, that the density of settlement has necessitated the general adoption of this mode of transit

In New South Wales the three systems of electric, cable, and steam traction are in vogue. Within the metropolitan area, however, the electric is being substituted for steam power. The length of line under electric traction on the 30th September, 1902, was 45 miles 15 chains, comprising 11 miles 67 chains at North Sydney ; 2 miles 27 chains, Ocean-street, Woollahra, to Dover Roaú, 3 miles 36 chains, George-street-Harris-street tramway; 4 miles 11 chains, Glebe Junction to Newtown, Marrickville, and Dulwich Hill; 2 miles 73 chains, Forest Lodge Junction to Leichhardt ; 2 miles 57.1 chains, Newtowni to St. Peters and Cook's River ; 1 mile 53 chains, Railway to Bridgestreet ; 5 miles 55 chains, Waverley and Bondi; 2 miles 28 chains, Railway to Glebe and Forest Lodge; 2 miles 66 chains, Forest Lodge to Balmain ; 1 mile 26 chains, Redfern to Moore Park; 3 miles 20 chains, Pitt and Castlereagh streets to Fort Macquarie ; and 55 chains, Georgestreet to Miller's Point. The only line worked by cable traction is

that from King-street, Sydney, to Ocean-street, in the suburb of | Woollahra, a distance of 2 miles 32 chains. On the remaining lines

steam motors are still used. The length of Government tram lines

open to 30th June, 1902, was 104 miles, which had cost for construcE

tion and equipment £2,829,363. The receipts for the year were £631,757, and the working expenses £541,984, leaving a profit of £89,773, or 3.17 per cent. on the invested capital. The number of passengers carried during 1902 was 108,135,111.

In Victoria the cable system is in operation in the metropolitan area, the lines having been constructed by a municipal trust at a cost of £1,705,794. The tramways are leased to a company, and the receipts for the year ended 30th June, 1902, were £474,835. The number of passengers carried during the year was 47,261,571. The miles of track operated on were 434 cable and 34 horse lines, or 47} miles of double track. Besides the lines of the Tramway Trust, there are additional suburban systems worked by limited liability companies, as follows :Horse, 8. miles; electric, 4 miles; and cable, 21 miles.

In Queensland there is a system of electric trams controlled by a private company. The only information available shows that the capital of the company is £750,000 fully paid up, and that there are also debentures to the amount of £400,000. Particulars as to receipts and disbursements are not available, but the report presented to the shareholders in London during May, 1902, showed a net profit of £42,815 for the period from 20th November, 1900, to 31st December, 1901. The length of the tramways is 25 miles, or 43 miles of single line. The company owned seventy-nine electric cars, and during the year 1901, 16,183,801 passengers were carried.

In South Australia there are no Government tramways, but horse trams are run in the principal streets of Adelaide by private companies. No particulars have been collected respecting the length of the lines, nor of the returns therefrom. A proposal is under consideration for the substitution of electric traction on these lines.

The Western Australian Government owns a line of horse tramway on a 2-foot gauge between Roeburne and Cossack, a length of 8} miles, constructed at a cost of £23,467. For the year ended 30th June, 1901, the gross earnings were £1,981, and the working expenses £2,285, leaving the loss on working expenses at £304.

In Tasmania there is an electric tramway from Hobart railway station, about 9 miles in length, owned by a private company. The cost of construction and equipment was £90,000 ; and the company possesses 20 cars. For the year ended 31st December, 1901, the receipts amounted to £16,097, and the working expenses, to £12,342. The passengers carried during the twelve months numbered 1,284,552. There is also a steam system at Zeelan, 2 miles in length, constructed at a cost of £3,212. No information is available as to the receipts, but the working expenses for the year ended 31st December, 1899, were £1,948. The number of passengers carried during the twelve months was 24,219.

There are also tramways in existence in New Zealand under municipal and private management, but no particulars in regard to them are at present available.

919

POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS.

THI *HE first Australasian post-office was established by Governor Mac

quarie in the year 1810, Mr. Isaac Nichols being appointed Postmaster. The office was in High-street (now known as George-street), Sydney, at the residence of Mr. Nichols, who was, “in consideration of the trouble and expense attendant upon this duty," allowed to charge on delivery to the addressee 8d. for every English or foreign letter of whatever weight, and for every parcel weighing not more than 20 lb., 1s. 6d., and exceeding that weight, 3s. The charge on Colonial letters was 4d., irrespective of weight; and soldiers' letters, or those addressed to their wives, were charged ld. Very little improvement in regard to postal matters took place for some years.

In 1825 an Act was passed by Sir Thomas Brisbane, with the advice of the Council, “to regulate the postage of letters in New South Wales,” giving power for the establishment of post-offices, and to fix the rates of postage. It was not, however, until 1828 that the provisions of the Act were put into full force. The rates of postage appear to have depended upon the distance and the difficulty of transmission. The lowest single inland rate was 3d., and the highest 12d., the postage on a letter increasing according to its weight, which was fixed for a single letter at l-ounce. Letters between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land were charged 3d. each (ship rate), and newspapers 1d. Other ship letters were charged 4d. single rate, and 6d. for any weight in excess. The privilege of franking was allowed to the Governor and a number of the chief public officials, and letters to and from convicts passed free under certain regulations.

In 1831 a twopenny post was established in Sydney; and in 1835, under Sir Richard Bourke, the Act of 1825 was repealed and another Act was passed, fixing the charge on a single letter at 4d. for 15 miles, 5d. for 20 miles, 6d. for 30 miles, and so on up to ls. for 300 miles. In 1837 a post-office was established in Melbourne, and a fortnightly mail was established between that city and Sydney. Stamps were introduced in the same year in the shape of stamped covers or envelopes, which are believed to have been the first postage-stamps ever issued. By 1838 there were 40 post-offices in the state of New South Wales, which at that time, of course, included the territory now known as Victoria and Queensland; and in the Sydney office about 15 persons were employed. The revenue of the Department for the year was £8,390, and the expenditure £10,347 ; while payments were made by.

the New South Wales Government to the post office at Kororareka, in New Zealand, which was not created a separate colony until 1841. In 1847 an overland mail between Sydney and Adelaide was established. Stamps in their present form were issued in 1819, and the postage rates were fixed at 1d. per } oz. for town and 2d. for country letters, at which they remain in most of the states to-day.

Regular steam mail communication with Great Britain was first established in 1852. Until that time the Australian colonies had to depend upon the irregular arrival and despatch of sailing vessels for the carriage of mails; but in the year mentioned the steamships Australia, Chusan, and Great Britain were despatched from England, making the voyage in 60 days, and causing a strong desire in the minds of the colonists for a more frequent and steady system of steam communication with the Old World. The outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854 hindered for a while the accomplishment of this object; but in 1856 a line of steamers was again laid on, and the service was carried on by the Peninsular and Oriental Company and the Royal Mail Company for some years, but without giving so much satisfaction to the public as might have been expected.

As far back as 185+ a proposal was made for the establishment of a line of mail packets via Panama, and negotiations on the subject were carried on for several years between the British Government and the Governments of New South Wales and New Zealand. The result was that in 1866 the service was started, and continued in operation until the end of 1868, when it was terminated through the failure of the company by avhich it had been carried out. In the following year New South Wales, in conjunction with New Zealand, inangurated a mail service via San Francisco, which, with a few interruptions and under various conditions, has been continued up to the present time.

The establishment of a mail route via America had the effect of stimulating the steamship-owners who were engaged in the service via Suez, and from that time there was a marked improvement in the steamers employed, as well as in the punctuality and speed with which the mails were delivered. The Peninsular and Oriental Company have carried mails for the colonies almost from the inception of the ocean steam service, with very few interruptions. Towards the end of 1878 the Orient Company commenced carrying mails between Australia and the United Kingdom, and have continued to do so ever since. In the year 1883 the tine steamers of the Messageries Maritimes of France entered the service, followed in 1887 by the North German Lloyd's, so that there are now sometimes two or even three mails received and despatched every week, and a voyage to Europe, which was formerly a formidable undertaking, involving great loss of time and much discomfort, is regarded as a mere pleasure trip to fill up a holiday.

In the year 1893 another mail service was established, by a line of steamers running from Sydney to Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. This line seems likely to open up a valuable trade between the Australian states and British North America. There is also a line of steamers running between Brisbane and London, but the states other than Queensland make little use of these vessels.

Under the provisions of the 51st clause of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, the control of the Post and Telegraph services became vested in the Commonwealth, and by proclamation these services were taken over on the 1st March, 1901. The systems of administration, and the rates levied in force in each state at the date ef union were however continued until the Commonwealth Postal Act was brought into operation on the 1st November, 1902, thus securing uniformity in all the states.

GROWTH OF POSTAL BUSINESS. The growth of postal business in each of the states during the forty-one years from 1861 to 1901 is shown below. It will be seen that the number of letters for all Australasia in 1861 was less than is now transacted by any individual state, Tasmania excepted. The true total for Australasia is, of course, not to be found by adding the figures of the several states together, as interstate letters are counted both in the state from which they are despatched and in that in which they are received for delivery. A second total is therefore given from which this excess has been excluded :

Post Offices,

Letters and Post

cards.

Newspapers.

Packets.

State.

1861. 1901.

1861.

1901.

1861.

1901.

1861.

1901.

....

New South Wales.... 340 2,208 4,309,463 82,783,467 3,384, 245 52,317,650 105,338 15,216,357 Victoria 369 1,637 6,109,929 83,063,029 4,277,179 27,125,251

13,481,970 Queensland

24 1,234 515,211 23,269,126 427,489 12,804,902 3,555 7,629,348 South Australia 160 713 1,540,472 21,818,724 1,089,424 9,921,641

1,343,622 Western Australia 187 193,317 | 17,450,878 137,476! 7,975,208

4,421,672 Tasmania

100 376
835,873 11,173, 493

895,656
7,410,146

2,238,632 Commonwealth 6,355 13,564,265 239,560,717 10,211,469 117,584,798

44,331,637 Commonwealth (ex. cluding Inter-State excess) 12,844,300 220,593,000 | 9,603,000 103,000,000

39,775,000 New Zealand .. 1,739 1,236,768 54,089,937 1,428,351 18,973,632

18,536,008 Australasia.. 8,094 14,801,033 293,650,054 11,639,820 136,558, 430

62,867,645 Australasia (exclud.

ing intercolonial
excess)
14,061,000 273,582,000 10,041,400 121,000,000

57,818,000

.

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