Tyranny of distance
Travel and communication between Western Australia and the eastern States was difficult and expensive. The transcontinental railway line had been completed and opened to passengers and freight in 1917, but the steamships which called at Fremantle were still vital for trade and travel between Western Australia and the rest of Australia. Although the first airmail service was established in June 1929, air freight and air travel still remained a hazardous and expensive business well beyond the reach of ordinary people.
Travelling to and from Perth was a major undertaking, with very few official visitors being present for the 1929 centenary celebrations. As Ralph Doig, a civil servant at the Premier's Department, recalls
"In those days it was a major event to come to Perth from the Eastern States. This involved a five or six day trip in the train each way and if you came by boat it could involve anything, so that interstate visitors to and from Western Australia were a pretty rare occasion, and it had to be pretty important to bring anybody across. Of course the same thing applied to overseas. If you wanted to come from England, it was a matter of a month in an overseas liner. Interstate visitors in those days, and overseas visitors, were comparatively rare ... "Little wonder that Canberra and the Federal Parliament would seem distant and irrelevant to many Western Australians.
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