Federal Capital

Cole believed that Albury should be the Federal Capital of Australia, and in around 1898 produced a booklet of 32 pages entitled Greater Melbourne and the Federal Capital. On the last page he lists

Twenty Reasons why Albury should be the Federal Capital
  1. It is near the centre of Australian population.
  2. It is on the main line of railway connecting the four principal capitals.
  3. It is on the principal river in Australia.
  4. It is on the border of the two principal colonies.
  5. It is between the two principal cities.
  6. It is far enough from the seaboard to be safe from sudden invasion.
  7. It is a splendid district for sheep, cattle and horses.
  8. It produces corn, wine, fruit, and flowers in abundance.
  9. It is a splendid tree-growing district, for for use and ornament.
  10. It has a never-failing water-supply for all purposes.
  11. It has splendid brick-clay, granite, freestone, etc., for building.
  12. The site is picturesque, beautiful and unique.
  13. It has a beautiful portion of land and water for a Federal Park.
  14. It is in the temperate region of Australia.
  15. It has a healthy, equable, and pleasant climate.
  16. It is near the highest mountains and the greatest number of streams in Australia.
  17. It is convenient to the fertile Riverina and the rich Murray Valley.
  18. Because Sir Hercules Robinson, the greatest governor, and Sir Henry Parkes, the greatest statesman, of New South Wales, both recommended it as the most suitable site for the Federal Capital.
  19. Because there is no other site on the Australian continent that has so many points in its favour, in all main essentials, as this one.
  20. It would be a fair and peaceful compromise between conflicting claims, and consequently permanently satisfactory.


Never one to miss an opportunity, Cole saw the Federation of Australia as a step towards World Federation, and on the same page 32 under the title Onward Steps, he declared:

And now I would beg pardon of the reader, for obtruding a few words on what may be considered by some as foreign to the subject – the coming Federation of the Whole World, but I cannot lose this opportunity. I love Australian Federation because it is good in itself, and also because it is a step towards the greater Federation; and in spite of all the armaments and the feverish selfishness of the world, I see it as coming. The trend of men’s minds is towards Federation, progress, and peace, and the first step is towards forging larger and larger governments.

A full transcript of Cole’s 678 word mini-essay Onward Steps is available here.

The caption to this illustration on pages 28 and 29 of the pamphlet reads:

View showing the towns of Wodonga and Albury taken from the Victorian side, also the intercolonial railway and the old Sydney road crossing the river at right angles; and also the Wodonga Creek, or ana-branch of the Murray, and the surrounding hills of the country. This being a bird’s eye view, the amphitheatre-like appearance cannot be seen so well, but the view is perfect to anyone standing on the low hill in the foreground, and which takes only a few minutes for one to climb, but the beautiful sight well-repays the trouble.

The 32 page booklet is followed by another 16 page section (with its own page numbering) entitled Supplementary Album: Our Melbourne Inland Sea – Its Towns and Settlements. The complete booklet is available here (28MB).