ON January 4th last the Council of the Shire of Frankston and Hastings passed a resolution to the effect that the Council’s High School Committee immediately write to the Education Department asking for a definite decision as to whether the alternate site would be accepted for a High School in lieu of the old cricket reserve.
This letter did not leave Frankston till January 17, when Mr. John E. Jones, the Shire Secretary, at the suggestion of the “Standard” representative, kindly undertook to ask on behalf of the school committee and write to the Department himself.
On Thursday last, as no reply had been received from the Department to the Shire Secretary’s letter, Crs. Gray and Wells made a special trip to Melbourne in order to obtain definite information for the Council meeting to be held on the following day.
The officers of the Education Department advised Crs. Gray and Wells that the matter had been considered and the reply would be furnished to the Council forthwith.
Consequently at last Friday’s meeting the following reply was received from the Department:
1st February, 1923.
Referring to your letter of 17th January regarding proposed High School at Frankston,
I have to inform you that the proposal for the alternate site for a High School IS NOT VIEWED FAVORABLY.
The Hon, the Minister proposes to visit Frankston on a suitable date in order to go further into the matter personally.
Cr. Gray: That practically means that the alternate site has been turned down. I therefore move that a referendum be taken in the Ridings of Frankston, Seaford and Mt. Eliza on Saturday, 17th February, on the question of handing over the old cricket reserve to the Education Department as a site for the High School.
The President asked if the motion could be proceeded with without notice.
Cr. Gray thought it could. He pointed out that at the recent public meeting attended by Mr. Hansen, it had been resolved that in the event of the alternate site being turned down the Council be asked to take a referendum.
Cr. Gray said enquiry had been made as to the accuracy of the statement that if only one or two ratepayers objected the Minister could not transfer the land.
THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT.
He urged the councillors to work together in this matter. All were in favor of a High School; it was only a question of site.
The alternative site might be as good as the cricket reserve, but the Education Department did not think so.
Other towns were out to secure the High School and Frankston should not delay any further.
If hot and bitter words had been passed over this question let them be forgotten.
Cr. Oates said he was quite agreeable to do the right and proper thing, but they should wait till the Minister came down. If they were in earnest they should put the best side. He believed Mr. Hansen was well impressed with the alternative site, but the public meeting had completely upset him.
Before any further action was taken they should find out what the Minister of Education had to say regarding the alternative site.
Cr. Jones: Why was the cricket reserve site withdrawn by the Lands Department?
Cr. Oates: Oh, I don’t know!
Cr. Jones: Because of the dilly-dallying and squabbling among yourselves.
Cr. Alden said that Mr. Hansen turned down the Hastings road site as being too far from the station.
This other site was the same distance away.
Cr. Oates advised delay until the Minister’s visit.
Cr. Jones: That’s what you have been doing for 12 months and darned near lost the school for us!
Cr. Gray is trying to reach finality and you are hopping in and trying to block him again!
Cr. Oates: Where is a referendum going to lead you? Will the Minister take any notice of it?
It was resolved on the motion of Crs. Gerrand and Jones that Cr. Gray’s resolution be accepted.
Cr. Gray said that he and Cr. Wells received inside information and Frankston people would be well advised to reach out both hands and get the High School.
Cr. Jones seconded Cr. Gray’s resolution that a referendum be taken.
“Some of you,” said Cr. Jones, don’t seem to know the value of what you are losing. Give the Education Department whatever they want.”
Cr. Oates: The question should have been settled long ago.
Cr. Jones: Well, you were the Scotch in the wheel!
Cr. May considered that if the Minister visited the district he should be met by councillors who were quite unbiased. He would then feel the proper view.
Cr. Alden: What about appointing the three East Riding councillors?
Cr. Longmuir thought the referendum should be taken over the whole Shire. All the ratepayers were interested in the money part of the business.
Cr. Alden: We are not asking if the people are in favor of a High School that question has been decided.
Cr. Wells said the voting would be recorded in each Riding separately.
Cr. Howell knew the Seaford Riding favored a High School, but the ratepayers there did not know the land in question.
Cr. Jones: When it is a question of gaining such an asset as a High School, we should give anything they ask for a site I would give the land! (Laughter).
Cr. Gray said he had named the three ridings because originally they made up one riding.
Cr. Walker: The vote should be taken through the whole Shire or the Frankston Riding. He moved that the referendum be taken in the Frankston Riding.
Cr. Howell seconded, but the motion was lost.
A further amendment by Crs. Howell and Walker that a vote of the whole Shire be taken was also defeated.
The motion was then put and carried by a large majority.
Cr. Gray enquired re voting powers.
Would it be on the principle of one ratepayer one vote.
Cr. Oates: I am returning officer and I will see that every ratepayer gets all the voting power they are entitled to.
Cr. Alden: If you hold a public meeting on the question you would only hold up one hand.
Cr. Oates: Why should the man with property worth only 5/- in rates have the same voting power as the permanent resident who has a large interest in the district?
Cr. Gray: Do you mean that the wealthy man has more brains?
The matter was then dropped.
On the motion of Crs. Gray and Wells the President was authorised to convene a public meeting to be held at Frankston on the evening of the 16th inst. to consider the referendum question.
THE Railways Department have written in reply to a letter from the Shire Council requesting that a luggage porter be appointed at Frankston.
Enquiry had been made into the matter and reports indicate that passengers’ luggage is taken by the staff to the station barrier, where it can be taken charge of by the driver of cabs or motors, or by passengers themselves, and whilst it was realised that some inconvenience was caused owing to the unfinished state of the ramp, at present this would be duly obviated, when the ramp is finished.
After consideration of all the circumstances the Commissioners could not see their way to accede to the request of the Council.
It was further intimated that the licensed luggage porters were not paid by the Department and it was questionable whether the traffic would enable one man to make a living.
From the pages of the Frankston and Somerville Standard, 7 & 9 Feb 1923