Australia, Canada and the Empire
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 27 Mar 1958, p. 281-286
Trout, H. Leon, Speaker
Media Type
Item Type
A detailed description of Australia, including its climate, culture, products, lifestyle, employment figures, taxation, government, health, tourist attractions, etc. Three reasons why the speaker and his compatriots came to Canada. Some questions put to the audience. A common bond between Commonwealth countries which brings us close together and is valued more than words can express.
Date of Original
27 Mar 1958
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Full Text
An Address by H. LEON TROUT, F.A.S.A., President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia
Thursday, March 27th, 1598
CHAIRMAN: The President, Lt.-Col. W. H. Montague.

LT. COL. W. H. MONTAGUE: The name of our Club makes it abundantly clear that we have a special interest in guest speakers from other parts of the British Empire. All too seldom do we succeed in having our invitations accepted by them in circumstances when we can receive them. This is largely a problem of timing.

It follows then that we are particularly delighted today to be able to extend the warmest of welcomes to Mr. H. Leon Trout, F.A.S.A., who hails from the Commonwealth of Australia. He is accompanied by several compatriots who are associated with him on the Queensland Investment Mission of which he is the deputy leader. We receive all of these gentlemen with the utmost cordiality.

Mr. Trout is President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia and, from 1953 to 1956, was President of the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce. A lawyer and Fellow of the Australian Society of Accountants, he is the senior partner of Trout, Bernays & Company. He is either the Chairman or a Director of several companies engaged in the hotel business, in the metal industry, in manufacturing, and other activities.

He is a Director of Norwich Union Insurance Company and of Chevron Queensland Limited; a Past President of the Australian Automobile Association and of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland; as well as Past President of Queensland National Art Gallery Society and of the Queensland Literary Self Aid Society for the Blind.

World War II found him on active service overseas in New Guinea as a member of 75 and 77 Squadrons of the R.A.A.F. He is a former officer of the Queensland Scottish Highlanders Regiment.

From his broad background as a soldier, airman, lawyer, accountant, businessman extraordinary and effective community worker, Mr. Trout will now address us on the subject, "Australia, Canada and The Empire".

Gentlemen: Mr. H. Leon Trout, F.A.S.A., President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia.

MR. H. LEON TROUT: Colonel Montague, may I thank you very much for your very warm welcome.

One humorist has said that the peak years of mental activity must be between the ages of four and eighteen, because at four we know all the questions, and at eighteen we know all the answers. I shall answer many questions which have been asked during our visit to Canada.

What sort of place is Australia? It is a very interesting country and has many unusual attractions.

How big it is? It is nearly three million square miles--almost equal to the United States. Its population is ten million, yours is eighteen million . . . 3.2 persons per square mile, yours is 3.8 per square mile. In some parts it is sparsely populated, in others it is populated up to 36,000 people per square mile.

It is estimated that Australia can comfortably provide for forty million people, with the same standard of living as exists today. Other people have estimated that Queensland alone could take forty million people comfortably, and that Australia could handle up to a hundred and fifty million people. Our standard of living is high. We have a very sound government, led by Mr. R. G. Menzies, and we have a very stable economy.

We have television, drive-in theatres, super markets, and large modern stores, similar to yours.

Have we any provinces? No, we have States which are very similar and Mr. Morris, the leader of the Mission, is our Deputy Premier, known to you as Deputy Prime Minister of Queensland.

What sort of climate has Australia? It is a land of sunshine with no extreme cold. In some places and for a few months it can be hot, especially in Central Australia, but generally it is Californian weather. Rainfall averages about 47 inches to 25 inches in the capital cities, and from 12 inches in Central Australia up to 100 inches and sometimes more in North Queensland and in Tasmania.

The cost of living is very low, especially for retired people, and your currency can purchase two or three times as much as ours.

We have large cities. Melbourne has a population of two million, Sydney, a million and a half, and Brisbane, five hundred and fifty thousand.

What does Australia produce? In the primary field, wool, to the value of 350 million pounds. We have 136 million sheep. We produce 750,000 tons of beef, 492,000 tons of sugar, and all the other primary products, such as wheat, butter, cheese.

Have we any minerals? Yes, everything but oil, and we hope that we will discover oil in the near future. We produce one and three-quarter million tons of pig iron, very cheaply, because of our high iron ore content. Recently, a very large bauxite deposit was discovered at Weipa which will involve a capital investment of 300 million dollars. We have plenty of coal, good, open cut, rich coal. We have one mine with an estimated deposit of 200 million tons. We are spending 800 million dollars on the Snowey River Project, which is a Hydro-Electric plus Irrigation Scheme.

Unemployment figures are low. In February we had approximately 13,000 people unemployed, from a total work force of 2,775,000, which to the mathematically minded would show a percentage of less than .5.

Taxation? Company taxes are approximately 7 and 6d. on the pound, and personal income tax is a maximum of 66-2/3 per cent.

We are a healthy nation, with one of the lowest death rates in the world . . . 9.13 per 1000, as against the United Kingdom of 11.7 per 1000.

What can we offer by way of tourist attractions? Almost everything you want and some things other countries have not. For instance, we have the great Barrier Reef, a tropical under-water exotic garden, with coral and fish blending their colours in a way which must be seen to be believed. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We have miles upon miles of white, sandy beaches, blue water and warm sun where you can swim all the year round. Fishing--marlin, shark and other game fishing ... coral trout, estuary fishing, or still water fishing in abundance. Shooting? Kangaroos, wallabies, wild pigs, buffalo, crocodiles, and you can ride on the backs of turtles if you wish. You can see the kaola bear--it is an inoffensive creature. They cry like a baby when they are injured. We have the platypus and the emus, which are very similar to ostriches.

And the Aborigines will give you corrabarre . . . in other words, dances and songs with spear and boomerang throwing . . . very similar to the modern Rock'n-Roll, but with more imagination. You can see Central Australia with the natives in their original state, with their interesting and fascinating customs.

Hotels are good, if you know where to go. The first class hotels are in the city areas but, like most other countries, they are not so good in the undeveloped areas. You can stay at these hotels for about a third of the price of other countries.

Why did we come to Canada? Firstly, we wanted to learn more about your country and your people, and to get first hand information about your most remarkable growth since the war.

Secondly, to encourage mutual tourist traffic from Canada to Australia and from Australia to Canada. Jet aircraft will bring you from Canada to Australia in twelve to fourteen hours in twelve months time.

Thirdly, to encourage mutual trade in investment between our two countries. Why? Because we believe that Canada's future and Australia's future are very closely interwoven and that they will be more and more dependent on each other as time goes on, for we have much in common.

In one century we have built nations from a wilderness. We believe in the dignity of work, and the satisfaction and independence which only work can provide. We ask for no favours which we cannot return. We do not believe that the world owes us a living or that other nations should help us in preference to others. We have confidence in our own country and faith in the freedom-loving countries of the world.

We are perhaps in a singular geographical position, for we are in the East but not of the East, we are of the West, but not in the West.

We believe that no nation can stand alone if it is to survive and maintain its many hard-earned freedoms. And now, Gentlemen, may I ask you some questions? One, do we believe that the future of this world depends upon the understanding and mutual co-operation of the English-speaking nations of the world? Your answer to that question is "Yes".

Two, how can the members and the peoples of the British Empire get closer to each other?

Three, is the time opportune for an elastic British Commonwealth Parliament, where the Prime Ministers and their Ministers could meet more regularly and exchange views more freely and more often?

Four, are the leaders of Commerce and Industry and Finance in these countries co-operating as closely and as regularly as they should?

Five, are the people of Canada and Australia and our sister countries seeing as much of each other and their countries and their people as they should?

Finally, are we looking too much at the ground upon which we walk and not to the distance beyond? Are we all thinking too much about our own country and no one else's? In other words, are we circumscribed in our thinking, and limited in our minds by the territorial limits of our own domains?

Canada and Australia are so closely interwoven with the United Kingdom and the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations or, as we still prefer to call it, the British Empire, and our ties are so strong and interwoven and interknit, so deeply, that injury to one or the other must of itself hurt each member.

Who is to say that within the next century Canada may not be the strongest member of our family? Or who knows? It might be Australia. We all have a common bond which brings us so closely together and which we value even more than words can express. We both pay homage to our Throne and we respect and admire the majestic way in which our Queen so graciously reigns over her Empire, dispensing justice, freedom and charity. May God bless her and the members of the Royal Family.

THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Mr. Arthur H. Creighton, Chairman of the Board of Trade Club.

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Australia, Canada and the Empire

A detailed description of Australia, including its climate, culture, products, lifestyle, employment figures, taxation, government, health, tourist attractions, etc. Three reasons why the speaker and his compatriots came to Canada. Some questions put to the audience. A common bond between Commonwealth countries which brings us close together and is valued more than words can express.