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be gratifying to you to learn that your favourable
notice has also operated as an encouragement
to us in this remote part of the empire,
struggling against the very powerful and
very unscrupulous hostility of the legal

By the present mail I forward to you a copy
of the Report of a Commission, comprising
amongst its members our late chief justice, Sir
C. Cooper; our present chief justice, Mr. R. D.
Hanson; and two leading members of the
legislative council, appointed by government to
investigate the working of that system which has
had the support of your powerful advocacy, and
their report affords conclusive evidence of the
success of that system.

The inexorable logic of facts set forth in the
return given in the Appendix of that report,
affords the best reply to our opponents, showing
that, during little more than three years, in the
face of misrepresentations and intimidations by
the conveyancers, land exceeding one million and
a half in value has been brought under the new
system upon the voluntary application of two
thousand six hundred and fifty-two proprietors;
that nearly half a million sterling has been
secured by mortgage upon that land; and
that, in all, five thousand four hundred and
seventy-one transactions have been completed
under the system without any of the disastrous
results so confidently predicted by its

The report itself contains an outline of the
procedure that has led to results so satisfactory.
The instructions to officers of the department
and the circular letters for the information of
land brokers and proprietors dealing under the
act, exhibit the working in minute details. It
must, however, be acknowledged that the hostility
of the conveyancers has worked beneficially
for the cause.

The combination to conduct, free of cost, all
cases adverse to the validity of the Real Property
Act has operated on the officials employed as a
stimulant to caution and vigilance, and has
occasioned a very searching inquisition into the
structure and language of the act which they
administer. The refusal of the conveyancers to
conduct business under that act has induced the
educated to transact their own business, and
occasioned the licensing of brokers to act for
the uneducated, and for all who prefer paying a
moderate fee to the trouble of transacting their
own affairs.

Those brokers are sworn; they give heavy
security; their charges amount to about one-
eighth per cent on the value in ordinary dealings,
and the result is, that the public have learned
that there is no more occasion for the services
of the conveyancer in selling, mortgaging, or
leasing land under the provisions of the Real
Property Act of South Australia, than there is
in filling up a banker's cheque, a bill of
exchange, or a transfer of scrip.

The neighbouring colonies are now profiting
by our example. Queensland has already
adopted our measure. In Tasmania it has
passed the second reading in the legislative
assembly by acclamation. I have also prepared
a bill for Victoria at the request of the government
of that colony, and am in communication
with members of the legislature of New South
Wales upon the same subject.

In the two last-named colonies, however, it is
to be feared that the powerful opposition of the
legal profession will operate to retard the adoption
of the measure.

The only difficulty experienced in working the
system in this colony, arises from the vague and
frequently erroneous descriptions of boundaries
and parcels given in grants and conveyances of
land, and from the absence of permanent
landmarks on the ground. Our system, you will
perceive, is capable of indefinite expansion, without
any risk of confusion, or of its becoming cumbrous
or unwieldy, and although, as is remarked in
the report, the machinery for bringing land
under the provisions of the act in the first
instance would require some modification in order
to adapt it for dealing with English titles,
complicated as they are by trusts and settlements,
I am yet satisfied that the facilities for
determining boundaries which exist in the old
country would more than counterbalance the
comparative difficulties arising from complication
of titles, and that its application to the
lands of England would not be attended with
any greater risks or difficulties than those
which have been successfully encountered in this

I have the honour to be, Sir, your most
humble servant,
                                 ROBT. TORRENS,
                  Registrar-General, South Australia.


THE manufacture of a submarine, is a much
more complicated affair than that of a land,
telegraph. A stout iron wire, passed through
porcelain or other non-conducting rings, wherever
it has to be attached to a pole or a tree,
will afford almost instantaneous communication
at either end, and require none of the protection
essential where wires are carried either
under the earth or under the sea. The difficulties
of manufacture arise not only from the
necessity of providing a cable strong enough to
resist the wear and tear of tides and the hauls
and pulls of dredges and ships' anchors; but
also, because it is necessary to obtain, under
considerable difficulties, the best "insulation"
and the utmost "conductivity." These two
terms, insulation and conductivity, must be so
often used in describing electric, and especially
submarine, cables, that it will be well to begin
this chapter by explaining them.

A telegraph wire may for our purposes be
compared to a pipe, which, according to its
diameter, has a capacity for conveying water.
Conductivity is the capacity of a wire to convey
electric power. High conductivity is capacity
to convey, from an electrical generator of a