MR Barklie’s reply to statements made by me in a previous issue of your paper serves merely to emphasize and confirm those statements which he denies and otherwise to give me an opportunity to traverse his statements and to expose in degree the fallacies under which he shelters.
First his opening sentences savour of misapprehension and misrepresentation for he says “Frankston has been offered a wonderful asset in the form of a High School” while in the same issue of your paper Cr Oates is reported to have stated that he with Cr Wells, Mr Utber and the Hon. A. Downward first waited upon the Minister of Education regarding a High School.
Surely there is some difference between Frankston asking for and the Minister offering the school, and surely the getting of the High School and the surrender of our recreation ground is not the same thing!
And what about “this wonderful asset”?
Without entering into the merit or demerit of the same, may I ask when among its advocated can give detailed information respecting its value to the town?
Even they disagree as to what is required for its establishment, but Mr. Barklie here steps into the breach to inform us that a building of the value of £10,000 will be erected “which in itself would be a decided benefit to Frankston”. and then he goes on to descant upon the purpose of the school which other consideration preclude me from dealing with now.
However, I would remind him there are two sides to the ledger, and the value of any asset is determined by the liabilities to be met.
To some of us it appears the grossest folly, a sin against posterity, indefensible alike on grounds of public utility or financial acumen to give away what is now a valuable property and which cannot be other than an inestimable boon in the coming years.
If Mr Barklie or any of those he represents owned this land would they be willing to transfer it for High School purposes on the same condition they now advocate?
Mr Barklie says “there are a number of other town’s on the Peninsula who would gladly give land to the Education Department, whether parklands or not.”
I challenge this statement, and ask him what towns and his authority for such a statement, and I would like to remind him the alternative possessed by these towns is still open to the advocates of the school at Frankston.
He says “the Park is seldom used in the sense. Mr McComb would have us believe.”
Here again is misapprehension.
We distinguish between a Park and a recreation ground. One has larger meaning than the other: a recreation ground serves the needs of all sections of the public which neither park nor cricket ground does.
That it is not often used is no argument against its retention.
The same could be said against the Caulfield racecourse.
Much capital is intended to be made from the fact that the cricketers gave their consent to the transfer of the land, but it is not generally known that Crs. Mason and Wells guaranteed them the use of the oval in the park for cricket purposes, and beguiled them with the prospect of a turf wicket before their consent was given.
Neither is it known that of fifty cricketers who were summoned to the meeting nineteen signed the petition for non-alienation of the ground and one who was not present afterwards advised me he was against the transfer, so it was only twelve men out of fifty that agreed to give their consent, and this with the inducements already referred to is not much to boast of, for if the whole fifty had given them consent they would still have been a very small section of the people.
Mr. Barklie asks “can I tell him any further uses this land has been put to” other than those enumerated by him.
He evidently forgets that cricket grounds are used for practice as well as for matches, and because he has not seen football there that is no evidence that the game has not been played.
I myself have often taken part in matches there and at one time it was voted the best football ground on the Peninsula.
But whether the land is used or not alters not the fact that while the people have the land they may use it if they wish, if they give it away they cannot use it if they wish.
In his very plausible enunciation of the scheme by which control is vested in a committee of management he conveniently omits the little word ‘may.’
The Minister may, which has an important bearing on all the other conditions.
He emphasises the fact that this land is not the property of the Council but singularly enough overlooks what necessarily follows that they have no right to give it away.
Again he says that no one in the wildest flights of imagination could imagine Frankston crowded and with slums, and that he is perfectly in accord with me as regards “having as much park land as possible in every city.”
I said nothing about park land and cities. One has only to visit Chelsea, Edithvale or Aspendale to estimate the probable expansion of settlement.
To think of the immigration from other lands; the natural increase of population; the decreasing hours of labour; the requirements for leisure hours; the prominence given to sport, to realise that recreation and recreation grounds must have an important part in the future welfare of the nation.
In getting down to cases he says “There was no land in or around Frankston so suitable.”
Had he said unsuitable it would had been nearer the truth, for many incontrovertible reasons might be given to prove its unsuitability but I must pass on.
His third and fourth reference carry with them their own refutation.
And now for the crux of the matter which is not as stated to be the loss of the High School if this land is not obtained, but until this land is refused no other site will be sought and it would be better far to lose the High School than have this land taken from the people.
His statement that he is a bachelor may have some significance as an advertisement, otherwise it serves to prove that others of that class may be as disinterested as he and be of use to discount his previously implied slur that those who have no children cannot be expected to take an interest in the welfare of a rising generation.
Pleading necessity and trusting that you will grant space for this lengthy reply.
I am. Sir,
JOSEPH R. McCOMB.
THE deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Chrisp are reported from Lilydale. The deaths occurred within a few hours of each other Mrs. Chrisp, who had attained 90 years, passed away first, her husband, who was 83 years of age, dying the next day.
The old couple were well known at Frankston, where they resided for many years, first at the “Ballam Park” Estate, and then at “Glenshadan,” now owned by Dr. Julian Scott.
As a boy of nine Thomas Chrisp came to Victoria and was educated at Scotch College.
In 1861 he married the Scotch lassie, Julia McDonald, who was destined to be his help–meet for more than 60 long years.
Two children, Ella and John Chrisp, were born of the union, but the son was killed on active service at Vryheid in the South African war.
The remains were interred at Lilydale.
From the pages of the Frankston and Somerville Standard, 2 August 1922