Need For More Population

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Need For More Population is an article written by a journalist of The Argus (Melbourne, Australia) on 3 december 1920.

Need For More Population

The Argus (3 december 1920)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Advice.

SYDNEY. Thursday - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle left to-day for New Zealand. In the course of an interview he said:- "I am endeavouring to write a book of my travels in Australia, and have completed five chapters of it. I am impressed, as every impartial observer must be, by the need for more population. I can clearly see that if at present anything occurred to weaken the power of Great Britain - supposing for example that a Labour Government were to take a low view of Imperial responsibility in England and this is quite possible, and refuse to throw the whole weight of the British Empire into a purely Australian quarrel - the situation of this country, with its enormous unpeopled territories, would be a desperately dangerous one, isolated as it is among the teeming swarms of these seas. Within the next 20 years every good Australian should, even though it may lower the value of labour, or have any other temporary effect, realise that the presence of more people here is the absolutely vital thing in Australian development."

He went on to suggest the subtropical districts of America as a source of immigration for Australia. "It has struck me," he said, "that just as Canada has secured hundreds of thousands of the very best class of immigrants from the northern States of America there may possibly in the subtropical States of the Union - Southern California, Louisiana, and so forth - be large numbers of people who would make desirable immigrants for the northern territories of Australia. Such immigrants would find in that part of Australia conditions similar to their own suitable for sugar, cotton and those other products which they have been accustomed to produce and handle. No doubt they would become loyal to the Flag, just as the Americans have become who have settled in Canada. It seems to me that something in the nature of strategic railway across the northern coast of Australia - a railway which would possibly justify itself on economic grounds later on - would perhaps be a better investment than any expenditure in ships. Every thing might depend on concentrating upon and extirpating some small body of intruders before they were able to reinforce and get a serious grip on the country.