Flood Could Not Dampen 'Sesqui' Spirits

Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia), December 12, 2009 | Go to article overview

Flood Could Not Dampen 'Sesqui' Spirits


Continuing on from last week's review of Grafton's sesquicentenary year, June was to be the 'Transport' month. Unfortunately many events, including this one, which had been planned for at least two years, had to be cancelled due to the flooding experienced in the Valley.

However, one event which was not affected by the flooding was The Regional Convention 2009 Newcastle Division held by Engineers Australia. The theme was 'Transport and Communication: Australia's Backbone Past, Present and Future'. The principal objective of the Newcastle Regional Convention Series was to bring engineers from all areas, regional and metropolitan, into regional centres to examine the issues which are so important to the life and economy of regional Australia, and focus on the importance of regional Australia to the nation.

The Northern Rivers Group of the Newcastle Division of Engineers Australia was keen to play a prominent role in the community celebrations and they did this by awarding a marker plaque to the railway bridge. This plaque will be erected in February 2010 as it is under construction at present.

A history on the Grafton to Brisbane railway was also launched. The book is titled 'Fruits of Federation'by Dr Robert Lee, Associate Professor at the University of Western Sydney. Lord Kitchener visited Australia in 1910 and he recommended that all railways in Australia should be on a single gauge. This was the catalyst for politicians to start the planning of a railway between Sydney and Brisbane. After World War I, Billy Hughes, as the Premier advocated that a railway should be built. The estimated cost was [pounds sterling]20 million (today it would be equivalent to $6 billion) and the Premiers decided that this could not be afforded. After further talks between the Commonwealth and some States, it was decided that the Grafton bridge be built. The Grafton bridge was funded by the Commonwealth and constructed by each government and was operated by the NSW Government right through to Brisbane. This was the first time there was co-operation between governments of other states.

This book, 'Fruits of Federation', looks at the social and political history of the time. …

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