73["Nor'-West Steamers", Daily News (Perth, WA), Wednesday 05 June 1912, page 5]

Nor'-West Steamers

Voice from the Far North

Petition to Parliament.

For some time past a petition has been circulated throughout the Nor'-West in regard to the line of Government steamers. The petition was commenced at Wyndham some time back, and, owing to the great distances to be travelled, the document reached Carnarvon when the request in the petition had been announced as an accomplished fact. Notwithstanding this, the petition is being still sent out for signatures, and after it has been sent to Geraldton it will be forwarded on to Parliament, so as to strengthen the hands of the Government when the House is in session. The text of the petition is as follows:--

"We, the undersigned residents of East and West Kimberley, and the North-West, do humbly petition the Government to put into commission a State boat between Fremantle and Wyndham. The reasons for making the petition are:--

"(1). That the services as carried out by the steamship companies are not run in the interests of the North-West nor of the State;

"(2) That twice during the past twelve months the residents of Derby and Wyndham have been reduced almost to a state of famine, both as regards supplies for human consumption and fodder for stock, not to mention the inconvenience occasioned by the irregularity of the mails, By the W.A. and Ocean Steamship Company, goods (the Christmas supplies) were over carried to Singapore, and when they returned to the port four months later much was valueless. The Derby people were able to keep themselves supplied with bread by carting flour from a station (that happened to have a supply) thirty miles away.

"Owing to the recent strike on the Koombana, the residents of Derby and Wyndham are at present suffering great hardships.

"Goods are not ordered in large quantities, as they deteriorate very rapidly In this climate, with the result that we are now without potatoes, onions, butter, tinned milk, and innumerable articles' which are necessary for household use. There is scarcely any horse-feed in the place, and we now learn that tons of fodder and other goods have been left behind in Fremantle.

"Residents, on receiving intimation of this fact from the shippers, immediately wired to Geraldton to secure the goods there. This was done, but the steamship officials refused to take it on board. Seeing that the boat only makes one trip per month, it will be another month before goods, which should have been here a fortnight ago, reach their destination.

"The experience of all ports on this coast is that cargo is taken or left on the Jetty as it suits steamship companies. During the past year back cargo for Fremantle has been left at Port Hedland for a period of three months.

"The difficulties under which we labor in this isolated portion of Australia are hard enough to bear without our lot being made worse by the inconsiderateness of the companies in question.

"A State steamer, by running in the interests of the people, and not of a private company, would do much to induce settlers to come to this portion of the State.

"Knowing that you are fully aware of the advantage of having a State-owned steamer, we therefore beg that you will, as soon as possible, put into effect this important part of the policy on which the Government was elected in October last."