Taking Over the Trams

The Brisbane Courier Tuesday 19 October 1920 p. 6.


Mr. J. S. Badger (managing director of the Brisbane Tramways Co., Ltd. ), who returned to Brisbane on Saturday evening, after an absence of ten months in America, has been much, improved in health by his trip, and in an interview with a "Courier" representative yesterday he said he felt that he was a good advertisement for what the Southern Californian climate could do for a man He spent all his time at Monrovia, just outside Los Angeles, raising oranges and lemons, and motoring; on the excellent Californian roads.

Mr Badger said he had returned in connection with the company's business, more especially in reference to the trans-fer of the tramways to the Government. He did not intend to take an active part in the management of the trams while he was here, as everything was running satisfactorily. All he would say was that he was hore to watch the company's interests in the matter of the transfer, and the period of his stay in Brisbane would depend on the time the negotiations occupied.

Regarding affairs in the United States Mr Badger saidd that the internal market conditions were fairly satisfactory although things had not yet entirely settled down. Labour was generally very highly paid and as an example he instanced carpenters earning from 8 to 10 dollars (£2) per day of 8 hours and plumbers and other skilled tradesmen getting as high as 12 dollars a dav Prices as a rule, were also high —being generally higher than in Australia—but the general tendency now was towards a reduction. Business was flourishing, and the people generally seemed to have plenty of money, and they spent it pretty liberally. A great proportion of the people in California had motor cars. In fact it was estimated that there was a motor car to every five men, women, and children. Most tradesmen working on jobs went to their work in motor cars.

In connection with the Japanese problem Mr Badger explained that the Japanese were not objected to as labourers, but as land owners, and it was to this very goal that the Japanese aspired. As adult Japanese could not become naturalised and therefore could not legally hold land, the difficulty was got over by placing a block of land in the name of the child which, being born in United States, was an American citizen.

The condition of the roads in California was enthusiastically referred to by Mr. Badger. California especially he said, had a magnificent system of highways. A variety of road formations was used, including concrete, and concrete with a surfacing of a tar composition while others were somewhat similar to tarred macadam treated with a residual obtained after the refining of the crude oil. Most of the States were doing a great deal towards making good roads and as a result a great increase in transport by motor trucks was noticeable. Road transport companies had sprung up and trips were now made between towns with the regularity of railway trains. The motor truck and tractor business was a tremendous thing at present, and machinery was being used more and more on the farms. In a like manner numerous labour saving devices were being instituted in the households. These included dish-washers, electric washers, ironers, cookers, &c., and automatic stoves. In the case of the latter a housewife could leave her home and adjust a thermostat and clock on the cooker to cook for a certain estimated time at a certain heat, and when she returned the meal would be ready for serving.

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