Newtown Land Use etc. 1862-92Naomi Crago 2014-09-24T04:27:34+00:00
PROVISION OF SERVICES: NEWTOWN COUNCIL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT BODIES AT WORK IN THE BOROUGH
The introduction referred to the extreme difficulty experienced by the council in its attempts to fulfil this obligation. One reason cited was that a number of government agencies worked, often at cross purposes, in the one area. This situation led to frustration, pettiness, bad relations and threats of litigation between the council and the different agencies. Table 7 lists these agencies – municipal, central government and private – which were involved in providing ancillary services. The first six will be considered in some detail,, though the council also experienced some difficulty in its relationship with the other bodies. Finance was the councils major problem. Revenue was derived from two main sources: local rates and government endowment. Rates were levied at 9/10 of the fair average rental value of all buildings, cultivated or pastoral land, whether occupied or not, and 5% upon the capital value of the fee simple of all unimproved land. 1 Page 87.
|Overall Administration of Municipalities Act.||Minister for Public Works|
|1||Finance||Rates, Subscriptions||Annual Endowment|
|2||Roads||Form & Maintain Water against dust Kerb & Gutter Footpaths||Dept. of Lands: survey, align Dept. of Works: main roads Dept. of Roads & Bridges: tolls, rail bridge Dept. of Mines: resumptions Railway Commissioners: tramlines City Corporation: water Cooks River Road Trust: ’till 1876|
|3||Railways||Dept. of Public Works: Railway Bridge Commissioner for Railways|
|Horse Omnibuses||Permission to run Nuisance Prevention Act||Sydney Corporation: ’till 1873 Metropolitan Transit Commissioner: licensing||Private Veichles of every description|
|4||Water||City Corporation Sydney Water Commissioners 1880: Metropolitan Water & Sewerage Board||Creeks, wells, dykes, tanks etc.|
|5||Sewerage & Drainage Garbage disposal||Nightsoil contractors Laying pipes etc. Inspector of Nuisances Scavenging contractors||City & Suburban Sewerage: Health Board After : Board of Health|
|6||Lighting||Australian Gas Light Co.|
|7||Education||Dept. of Public Instruction||Private venture: Denominational|
|8||Fires||After 1884: Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board||Insurance companies Until 1892: Volunteer Fire Brigade|
|9||Post Office||P.M.G.’s Dept.|
|10||The Law||By Laws||Dept. of Justice Court of Petty Sessions Police||Special Constables (1890)|
Table 7 Page 88. Extra rates could be levied for water, sewerage, lighting. An annual endowment was granted for fifteen years on a sliding scale: £ for £ of revenue raised in the first five years, 10/- in the £ for the following five years and 5/- in the £ for the final five years, in Newtown’s case, ending in 1877. There was continual agitation and concern amongst all councils over paucity of funds. Newtown, quite early, sought a solution in borrowing. In 1868, she borrowed £2,000. A further £3,000 was borrowed in 1876 and a loan of £24,000 floated in London in 1884. 1 Though essential, this borrowing forced the council into a bind: an additional £5, 000 had to be borrowed in 1886 to pay debentures, and by March 1887, interest on debentures was £1,675, almost 1/8 of total expenditure for that year. 2 Like many other borough councils, Newtown had trouble with arrears, though legal proceedings were regularly initiated. In November, 1887, arrears, including those of the current year, amounted to £7,041. 3 Page 89. Meanwhile, in 1877 Parkes had been coerced into paying special endowments to the councils when their miserable fifteen year endowments terminated, 1 and the 1885 Municipal Special Endowment Act provided for an annual grant of half the rates collected. Regardless of such assistance, debts mounted. The bank pressured the council and, in 1883, refused further loans. The mayor was authorised to “affix the corporate seal of the borough to any documents necessary to secure any bank allowing this council an overdraft” 2 – that is another over- draft. A loan was secured from the Bank of Australasia, but in 1889, it too informed the council that its “overdraft had reached the limit”. 3 Endowments, when they arrived, were immediately swallowed up by the overdraft. In 1883, the overdraft was £5,278 when the endowment cheque of £2,492 arrived. In 1890, the figures were £3,300 and £2,286 respectively and in 1892, £4,729 and £2,286 respectively. 4 No wonder the mayors called upon councillors “not to be too generous in placing votes on the business papers” or stressed “the urgent necessity which exists to exercise short economy. 5 Clearly, the council was either wildly extravagant or the funding unrealistic. The following pages suggest that – except for the council’s obsession with the Town Hall – the latter was the case. Page 90. The 1892 estimate 1 shows the breakdown of expenses. The allowances for general work and wages and repairs will be shown to have been totally inadequate. Incidentally, the total receipts exclusive of loans, for this year were £14,101.
|Office Equipment||£ 900|
|Interest on loans||1700|
|Wages & general repairs||3000|
|General Work:||Camden Ward||2500|
Thus in financing the borough, the council had two problems : the local one of rates being insufficient to cover costs, or evaded, and the wider problem of “niggardly treatment meted out by the centre”. 2 The council’s greatest single expense was roads. They were mostly unplanned, an amalgam of borders of original land grants eg. Edgeware Road, Lord Street; borders of earlier sub- divisions eg. Brown Street, Angel Street: driveways to old mansions eg. Station Street, Linthorpe Street; rickety extensions tortured to meet established roads eg. Simmons Street; roads which stopped dead because they once met the fence of an adjoining property eg. Bennett street; Page 91. or a railway line, John Street; roads which ran parallel to railway lines established before them eg. Bedford street; and finally roads which were drawn up as part of the final subdivisions accord- ing to clause 117 of the Municipalities Act. At its incorporation, Newtown accepted responsibility for eleven miles of ‘roads’ and by 1892, this figure had increased to 22. 1 The usual mode of acquisition was through ‘dedication’, a not wholly altruistic measure whereby owners informed the council that a portion of their land was available for development as public roads. This immediately brought an outside body into municipal activities, as the council’s next step was to “furnish proof of dedication” 2 to the Department of Lands (later the Department of Mines) whose surveyors aligned the streets, which then became the council’s responsibility. There were complaints about the slowness of the former Department in completing this middle step. Sometimes the council found it necessary to approach landowners for a portion of their land so as to widen, extend or link existing streets. The answer could be an outright refusal eg. Mrs. Dickson “felt neither inclined nor entitled” to give up any of her Holmwood Estate. 3 Alternatively, some willingly consented to grant the required land. More often, the hard-headed men of property extracted an exchange from the council eg. Josephson agreed to give up some land provided the council construct, “in lieu of the old one, a new and substantial 6′ paling fence”. 4 Page 92. As land values increased, the council found itself paying large sums for small resumptions eg. £449 for land to extend Islington Street, £50 to extend Egan Street. 1 In 1885, the estimated cost of resumptions necessary to widen Missenden Road was £6,770, 2 an impossible sum for the council. The outside body authorized to assist in such matters, the Department of Mines, refused to do so. Thus the ‘plan’ of Newtown was laid down – the financially pressed council was no match for the whims of private landholders. Except for King Street, which will be dealt with separately – the roads were a council responsibility and the costs were prohibitive. First the council had to provide alignment posts for the surveyor : their cost was £3 per dozen in 1886. 3 After alignment, roads had to be ‘formed’ – the cost in 1876 was £2/2/- per chain. 4 Ballasting was the next step : ballast was always scarce and costly and large amounts required – in 1866, twenty five loads for Lord Street alone. 5 Cartage was an additional expense : 9/- per day in 1875, ll/- per day under contract in 1881. 6 Roads then had to be metalled : blue or white metal was procured from Marrick- ville and Five Dock, later from Emu (Plains), Kiama and Melbourne. While metal, crushed to 3″ gauge, cost 6/9 per ton in 1866; 9/2 in 1878. Blue metal cost 8/6 per ton in 1879 : 10/9 per ton in 1883. In 1881, the surveyor estimated that 10,000 tons were needed to metal unmade roads in the borough i.e. over £5,500 for unmade roads alone when income from rates that year totalled £3,000. Page 93. The metal, once bought, had to be laid by day labour – wages were 7/- per day in 1880, 8/- per day in 1891. 1 Later, blue metal cubing was laid – the cubes cost 35/- per hundred. Culverts were a considerable expense eg. £78 for a brick culvert; £225 for a 3′ wide culvert. 2 These and the figures which follow are fairly meaning- less in abstraction. Map 16 attempts to compare the cost of some of the more common council works. Note that the scale is 1″ = 44 yds., and by 1892 the council had 22 miles of roads to deal with. Material costs were not the only problem. The council was hampered in its road building by the existence of structures built before the permanent road levels were established. This resulted in numerous complaints and legal claims when the new roads were built so high as to cause flooding of adjoining property or to prevent owners using existing driveways, 3 or so low as to create the danger of houses collapsing. 4 Many dwarf walls had to be constructed to alleviate this problem. Compensation claims, too numerous to specify, involved the council in considerable expense. 5 At least three went to the Supreme Court. The case of Mayne vs The Borough of Newtown, for example, handed down a verdict of £250 plus costs (£152) against Newtown council. 6 The council retained its own solicitor (for many years S. C. Brown) and legal costs were considerable. Page 94. Page 95. Problems concerned with roads were one of the chief preoccupations of the council and no road concerned it so much as Cook’s River Road. This road, and the vehicles which traversed it, best illustrate the use of a suburban facility by populations living further afield, as well as the council’s difficulties in dealing with, and having to depend upon, outside bodies. Its importance as a thoroughfare was recognised as early as 1843 when, under the Parish Roads Trust Act of 1840, the Cook’s River Road Trust was electee to maintain the Road. 1 Revenue was obtained from tolls and subscriptions. However, like most of the trusts, it proved “able to resist any encroachment” 2 by the newly elected council, which found itself constantly wrangling over the state of this road. There were accusations and counter accusations : the council claimed that the road was neglected and in an appalling condition. The trust refused to contribute to costs of kerbing and guttering, and claimed the council injured the road when laying pipes. 3 It refused to take over Enmore Road, a thoroughfare almost as busy as Cook’s River Road, though recognition of some responsibility was implied by the occasional contributions to its maintenance. 4 Page 96. Meanwhile the roads were in use day and night. Producers brought their goods to market “in heavily laden drays, playing havoc with the few miserable roads that then existed”. 1 Businessmen and workers travelled in private and public vehicles to work, entertainment and social functions in the city. There was purely local usage also : drays hauling building materials, sanitary carts, vans making deliveries, hawkers plying their wares. Despite the bad relations, Newtown council, with an ambivalence it often displayed, opposed the disbanding of the trust, but its duties were taken over by the Department of Works in 1876. 2 Relations with this body were no better : greater use meant greater friction and Newtown was entering a period of rapid development, as were adjoining suburbs. The three greatest causes of friction, apart from the ‘state’ of the road, were dust, the narrowness of the railway bridge and wood paving. Dust, in “whirlwinds of thick powder that fill every street and house” 3 had always been a problem in Sydney. Page 97. The Department of Works, however, refused to deal with this “injury to life and property” 1 so the council was forced to sprinkle the road. This involved outlay on a horse and cart and wages. The City Corporation refused to supply water for this purpose, so it had to be purchased at a cost of 2/6 per thousand feet. salt water, 3d per load cheaper, was used in the drought conditions of 1881. 2 The Public Works Department relented and contributed to the cost of this procedure, but it was a major problem and caused much resentment. Rainfall merely put a different face on the problem. Instead of laying the dust, it turned the road into a quagmire of mud and horse manure. The Sydney Morning Herald remarked, “… it has long been a dispute whether the roads there are at their worst in summer or winter”. 3 Not surprisingly, pressure mounted for the wood blocking of the road, a method by which blocks of hardwood were placed on a 9″ layer of cement and sealed in place with tar. 4 Again, much talk preceded this work, commenced in 1884. The council contributed £4,000 to the cost, but this only covered the area from Bligh Street to the Bridge. 5 There was considerable agitation for the extension of the paving to May Street, but the Public Works Department refused to receive a deputation concerning this matter unless the council agreed to pay half the costs. Page 98. In 1887 the council made the following offer : if the Department would pave Cook’s River Road and Enmore Road it would take them over “for all time”, maintain them and, for the next six years, would pay £500 and £300 respectively towards the cost of the work. A petition of over 3,000 signatures followed, but the council was unable to extract “a decided answer from the Premier”. 1 The lower extension of Cook’s River Road was put on the estimates in 1888 and the Department agreed to pave Enmore Road in 1891. No sooner was the latter decision made when another body interfered : the Railway and Tramway Commissioners refused to accede to the proposal, as their tram lines had another two years life before they should be taken up! 2 They added fuel to the fire by refusing to receive a deputation on this matter. They relented in 1892, but relations, already strained by other aspects of the tram- way, worsened. The narrowness of the railway bridge was a constant concern. It was widened to cope with extra traffic in 1871, but further widening was required by 1874. Then came the trams and the bridge had to be widened again. The Department and the Council did not always agree as to the urgency or necessity of this work, so friction arose because of it. 3 Page 99. Plate 61 a). This letter (Parkes Correspondence, Volume 9) from the mayor of Newtown, Mr. Bellemey to M.L.A. Mr. Joseph Abbott, refers to two of the major preoccupations of the Newtown Council: the endowment and the wood-blocking of Cook’s River Road. Page 100. Plate 61 b). Continuation of letter to Mr. Joseph Abbott. Page 101. The two toll bars also caused friction. The council considered them a “great obstruction” 1 and toll evasion resulted in much damage to alternate routes. In 1882, the cost of re-metalling Wilson Street, badly cut up by this extra traffic was between £270 and £300, and the council was not recompensed. 2 Plate 62. Newtown toll-bar. Conflict was not confined to what might be termed the physical aspects of the roads however, as they were much utilized by public transport, chief of which, in the earlier days, was the horse omnibus. Licenses were obtained from the City Corporation or, after 1873, from the Board of Transit Commissioners. This arrangement resulted in loss of revenue and control by the local council. The buses, their drivers and conductors were notorious all over Sydney and complaints about them flooded in to the council. The vehicles were “small, narrow and dirty, with no stuffing in the seats” 3 and the boy conductors shabby and insolent. The first matron of Prince Alfred Hospital reported being “daily jolted and bruised in a stuffy bus” as she journeyed from Wynyard. 4 Buses were usually overcrowded : one, pulled by five horses, was nicknamed the ‘Honeypot’ because of the number of passengers who clustered in or on it. Page 102. Probably more aptly, another was named ‘Defiance’. 1 Horses were often broken in under harness and there were constant complaints of ‘furious driving’, racing, plying in narrow streets, and loitering : one driver was fined eleven times in one year. 2 In 1881, a tramline was constructed from Newtown to Marrickville, and linked with Parramatta Road in 1882. 3 The steam trams and tracks were administered by the Commiss- ioners for Railways and Tramways, already mentioned. Conflict began early, with complaints about the trams block- ing the road and halting traffic as they manoeuvred out of the sheds and took on water and coal. 4 They sometimes travelled at high speed, and roads were torn up to lay tracks. The tracks were swept but workmen infuriated shopkeepers by leaving sweepings at the edge of the road. Newtown was also traversed or bordered by two railway lines, the Western line and the Illawarra line. Their existence was a major reason for Newtown’s rapid development, and they were a great convenience – seven minutes to the city in the ‘Newtown Dodgers’ – but they too brought conflict with the Railway Commissioners and the Railways Branch of the Department of Works. Page 103. One source of contention was the closing of gates over the railway, between North and South Kingston and at John Street, at sundown and on Sundays, and at Edgeware Road, at 9 o’clock each night. 1 As the railway bridges were some distance from these points, the inconvenience was considerable. Subways, one solution to this problem were only built after application of considerable pressure, and exchanges, eg. closing of an overhead pass, were usually extracted. 2 The condition of the railway station, though it cost £1,760, 3 was constantly complained of. The Herald called it “a miserable wooden structure destitute of all convenience”. 4 Another aspect of road maintenance was kerbing and guttering, solely a council responsibility. Contracts were let annually for this work, which was always expensive. In 1865, the cost was between 5/- and 6/- per yard. 5 By 1892, the work was divided into four classes, ranging from 10/6 to 5/9 per yard. 6 Stone from the Pyrmont quarries was usually used, but the superior blue-stone pitchers were used on the crossings. They cost 58/6 per hundred. 7 Footpaths were constructed of burned clay, paving tiles asphalt or double pressed bricks. Page 104. The council’s problems were not over once the work was done, however. They were frequently washed away and required constant “topping” or “patching” with fresh tar. There were complaints that footpaths were wrecked by stray animals and by carts and omnibuses short-cutting across them. In 1884 the council resorted to erecting “a few posts in Wilson Street to keep wheel traffic off the footpaths”. 1 The council’s duties did not end with public works of such a tangible nature, however. They were also responsible for such things as water and sewerage disposal. Provision of an adequate water supply was a problem for all suburban councils. In the early days of the colony ‘drought’ was not associated only with the baked plains of the inland – it was a reality for Sydney-siders as well. Whilst Newtown’s population was small, creeks and water holes, augmented by wells, tanks and underground tanks, sufficed. The increased population brought a two fold problem : existing supply proved inadequate and water holes, creeks and wells became polluted. Newtown’s endeavours to procure an adequate water supply provided one of the earliest lessons in the difficulty of dealing with outside authorities. Water supply was the responsibility of the City Corporation. Two select committees were appointed, in 1862, and 1864, to enquire into the water problem, but nothing came of their recommendations. A deputation from the Newtown council in June 1865 was informed that Newtown would be supplied in “three or four months”. Page 105. The following June, they were told that the supply had been postponed for a further three months. 1 In 1867, a five member Water Commission was appointed. Again nothing was achieved and water in Newtown sold at 3d per bucket. 2 A deputation in 1871 sought access to Botany Waterworks but was told that a reservoir would be built, within eighteen months to supply the whole of Sydney. By the next year there was a further change : a reservoir was to be built in Newtown.” 3 The Department of Lands however, refused to resume land for this purpose. 4 Meanwhile the council investigated a number of private schemes. In 1876, the Corporation again promised that Newtown would be supplied within a few months. Reticul- ation mains were commenced in 1877. By the end of 1881, the inner suburbs were fairly well reticulated but drought governed the consistency of supply. A deputation that year asserted that “the present intermittent water supply is causing much sickness and distress amongst the inhabitants of Newtown 5 – it was rationed and available only at night. In 1888, the Upper Nepean Scheme, commenced in 1880, was com- pleted and the water supply taken over by the Water and Sewerage Board. 6 Sewerage disposal was another responsibility which the council found impossible to solve alone. Night men were employed under contract but the major problem was one of disposal. Page 106. Various agreements were made eg. with Slade, who welcomed this “fertilizing agent” at his dairy; with Keep and Harpur in Kingston. 1 However, these arrangements did not represent a long term solution. In 1876, the council passed a resolution viz. “that immediate steps should be taken by this council to bring the subject of sewerage under the notice of the Sewerage and Health Board, as the financial position of the council will not enable it to carry out an efficient system of sewerage which is absolutely necessary for the health of the inhab- itants”. 2 This Board had been appointed the previous year to “enquire into and report as to the best means of disposing of the sewerage of the city and its suburbs”. 3 Whilst awaiting action from this central body, the council encouraged the earth closet system and continued to make temporary arrange- ments for sewerage disposal. Again there were constant complaints to the council : cesspits were emptied too often, not often enough, left in a filthy condition. A petition to the council in 1888 demanded more effectual sewerage removal as “the mode now in operation was most objectionable”. 4 A major disposal problem arose in 1886, when the City Corporation forbad depositing of night-soil anywhere in the Botany Water- works catchment area. 5 Page 107. Meanwhile, the Sewerage and Health Board had recommended a dual system of sewerage for Sydney: the Northern outfall was to be the ocean off Ben Buckler, and the Southern outfall a a sewage farm near Cook’s River. 1 Part of Newtown was connected to the Southern system and, in 1889 a deputation waited on the Secretary for Public Works, requesting that the western section of the borough be connected to the Prince Alfred sewer then under construction. This was agreed to and that system extended to Liberty Street in 1893. 2 Both were trans- ferred to the Water and sewerage Board on completion. In this case, conflict was apparently confined to the difficulties experienced when roads were torn up to lay pipes, a problem with the water and gas mains also. The general drainage of the borough, like kerbing and guttering and garbage disposal, remained solely a borough concern. When the municipality was incorporated, the drains – mostly open – followed the topography to the lowlands. The first council drains were constructed in the most logical position, across vacant allotments, which did not perturb the owners. However when the time came to build, opposition to this practice increased and numerous owners refused to permit it. 3 Furthermore, the council was asked to re-site existing drains, some foolhardy people built regardless of drainage and letters to the council complained of “sewage and matter” flowing under houses; “drainage and sewage water sapping the foundations”. 4 Sometimes pipes of inadequate size were used and drains were often broken by the traffic. Page 108. Together with culverts, which trapped filth, and silt pits designed to collect debris and prevent blockages, leaking cesspits and inadequately secured connections, they produced odours which were described as “unendurable”. 1 Open pipes were gradually replaced by pipes of varying diameter. It must have been some consolation to the council that the prices of earthenware pipes progressively decreased eg. 9″ pipes in 1881 sold for lOd per foot but sold at 6d per foot in 1886; 24″ pipes were 8/- per foot in 1866 but 5/6 per foot in 1890. 2 Even still, vast lengths were needed to cover the area. A 3″ barrel drain from Australia Street to Bedford Street cost £450 in 1879; a 9″ earthenware pipe from Church Street to Missenden Road, with all necessary stench taps and connections cost £100 in 1883. 3 A particularly pressing problem was storm water, especially after roadworks altered levels, and kerbing and guttering altered the direction of natural water courses. Higher areas were safe but the new roads often served as water courses in the heavy rains. Thus the council’s work , applauded by residents of Pearl and Commodore Street, infuriated the residents of Wells Street, the unwilling recipients of torrents of storm water. 4 Drainage, especially of sewage, was a cause of bad relations between Newtown and neighbouring councils eg. Marrickville, Macdonaldtown and Camperdown and the University Senate. Page 109. The council was often quite unsympathetic to the view of these councils and on a number of occasions, very disdainful eg. Macdonaldtown, after years of letters beseeching a solution to the problem at last blocked a drain and suggested a meeting to settle the matter amicably. Newtown replied, “This council knows of no disagreement”. 1 An injunction was issued in the Supreme Court to restrain Newtown from permitting its drainage to flow into Camperdown borough, and legal proceedings initiated in 1891. 2 The problems of water, sewerage and drainage added up to one enormous problem : the health of the borough. A major danger to health was removed in 1866 when legislation forcibly closed the Camperdown cemetery. Newtown council spent £25, engaged two surveyors and a water analyst in order to provide additional evidence and secure the passage of the legislation. 3 But the council’s problems were just beginning. Typhoid, known as the ‘colonial disease’ was endemic in early Sydney and there were frequent outbreaks of smallpox, scarletina and diphteria. The death rate in Newtown was above average 4 and many of the victims were children. Table 8 records total number of deaths of children under five in the suburbs and in Newtown alone. 5 The highest listed cause of death in all suburbs was “atrophy and debility”. Page 110.
Next highest killer was diarrhoea, though there were more deaths from an outbreak of scarlatina in 1876, and more from convulsions in 1880. Of the 2091 children under five who died in the suburbs in 1885, ninety four were considered to have died of “teething”. 1 Newtown’s resident vaccinator was Dr. Sedgwick, but vaccination in the suburbs fluctuated wildly : 1872: 6,433; 1874: 234; 1877: 5,308; 1878: 532. 2 In 1888-9 there was a severe outbreak of typhoid in the Gowrie Street area. 3 The subsequent inquiry revealed that the affected houses had been built atop old brick holes which had been filled in with household rubbish and were still alive with stench and slime. Page 111. Plate 63. Esther, one of Head Teacher O’Reilly’s seven children – a victim of diphtheria. Page 112. The Herald mounted a scathing attack on the council’s shameful neglect of the drains in the area, 1 the sort of report on which Gannon would have based his judgement that councillors were ‘murderers’. The council certainly did some foolish things : it sold street sweepings and household rubbish as filler for gardens and other surface holes, at 1/- per load. 2 The very week after it discussed the typhoid outbreak in Gowrie Street, it decided to discontinue disin- fecting, as it was “too expensive and result-less”. 3 However, it appointed an inspector of nuisances nine years before this step was mandatory 4 and, unlike other councils, 5 appears to have supported his actions. Still, many sources of filth and disease remained : stagnant water, polluted watercourses, dead animals and domestic sewerage deposited on vacant land. Poultry, goats and pigs were kept and often strayed. The hygiene standards of many humans were less than modern. A Board of Health was established in 1881, and the council will- ingly co-operated with its inspections of diaries, analysis of water etc. 6 Finally, the council was responsible for, lighting in the borough. In 1868, it decided that gas lighting would “benefit the municipality, was in the general interest and would greatly promote the comfort and well-being of the inhabitants”.7 Page 113. In 1869, the annual price per lamp was £8/10/-, including hire, gas, repair, cleaning, lighting and extinguishing. 1 Lighting was omitted five nights each moon. The cost of gas lamps was regularly reduced, though often on condition that the council increased its order : by 1891, it was £4/15/-, almost half the original cost. 2 By 1876 there were at least 56 lamps on Cook’s River and Enmore Roads alone. By 1892, they were dotted all over the borough. In 1887, the council decided that it would be “advan- tageous to the council and the people generally” 3 to establish a municipal gas works, but this did not eventuate. Gas compared well in price to the older sperm and tallow candles. 4 Newtown council, ever wanting the latest, first dis- cussed electric lighting in 1882. A special committee was set up in 1889, but in 1892, when funds were low and the economic situation had deteriorated, it was decided to leave this idea in abeyance but keep close watch on how the new scheme worked in nearby Redfern. 5 Relations with the Gas Company were reasonable except for the perennial problem of uprooting roads to lay pipes. 6 The over-riding impression gained from this brief over- view of the council and government bodies at work in Newtown is an acute awareness of the extreme difficulties under which they laboured. Page 114. Friction between responsible groups, complaints and demands of ratepayers, overarched by the totally inadequate financial structure placed the council in an impossible position. In the light of the above evidence, and in order to further substantiate statements made in the introduction, the council’s composition and modes of procedure will be briefly considered.