|Lionel Edward Laws on the job|
My grandfather Lionel Edward Laws (Pa)was a road contractor in the Darling Downs area of Queensland.
It must have been a hard life for my grandmother Lorna Bessie to have 10 children, lose one but bring up 9 children while her husband was away on road construction jobs. As well as her own children she sometimes had other relatives to look after too.
Now that Australian Newspapers are being digitised on Trove it has been interesting to see what tenders he won and lost.
This one intrigued me as it almost looks like collusion.
16 May 1914 Warwick
The following tenders were received by the Engineer of the Glengallan, Shire Council for clearing and repairs to the road between Margett's place and Willowvale State School, a distance of about six miles :-J. Reibelt, £48 4s. ; T. C. Eather, £47 19s. 6d. ; L. E. Laws, £47 19s. There is only a difference of 5s. between the highest and lower tenderer.(1) ( L E Laws was actually father & son)
10 December 1925
A CONTRACTOR'S DIFFICULTY. INCREASE IN THE BASIC WAGE
At the meeting of the Glengallon Shire Council a letter was received from Mr.L.E Laws junr., stating that the recent increase of 8/- per week in the basic wage, which was made .retrospectively to September 28, had increased the cost of labor on his road making contract by £220. As this additional expense could not be foreseen when he tendered for the work, he asked for an allowance in the contract price to meet it.
The chairman explained that when the tender was let and the contract was being drawn up, Mr Laws had asked for the insertion of a clause providing for such a contingency, but this the Main Roads Commission would not agree to. Mr.Laws had then signed the contract,and gone on with the work.Now that the increase had taken place, the contractor was suffering a hardship,which he thought it was the Council's duty to relieve if possible. The Council had no power to do anything itself but representation could be made to the Main Roads Commission After a good deal of discussion it was decided on the motion of Crs. Brewer and Gamask, to ask the Commission to reimburse the contractor for his loss without additional expense to the Council.(2)
The new road from Killarney to the New South Wales border is now nearing completion, and, in fact, has been passed by the Main Roads Board, but it is not considered advisable yet to throw it open. The Killarney-Border road is historic; it is the first start of the Main Roads Board work in Queensland. It is also the jumping-off point of a system which is designed to be far-reaching. In time to come the border of the southern State will be connected with Warwick by a track possessing facilities in vivid contrast to the almost impossible conditions now existent. Recently, this new stretch of road had its finishing touch put on so far as the original scheme is concerned, and the work of the contractor (Mr. L. E. Laws), under the supervision of Mr. L. B. S. Reid (engineer for Glengallan Shire Council), was handed over to the Board. As a tourist route the new road presents many attractions. The grade is easy—1 in 20—and as the track winds in a series of curves, the outlook is one of the most beautiful. There are 15 curves, two of which are complete semicircles. This road may be the start of a system that will connect Killarney to Warwick, and may yet reach out via Womina, Glengallan, Allora, Toowoomba, to Brisbane. It is certainly a very important work, as far as the Glengallan Shire is concerned.(3)
The importance of the new roads are again in the news, this time with a banquet. 23 November 1926
New Road Opened.-A length of about three miles of the road between Victoria Hill and the railway at Ellinthorp, built by a Federal grant of £4000, was formally opened on November 13. The residents of Victoria Hill held a banquet, in celebration of the occasion, at which about 200 invited guests assembled, including the chairman and members of the Allora Shire Council, the Chairman of the Clifton Shire Council, and many of the prominent residents of Allora, Goomburra, and surrounding districts. Councillor C. H. Morris welcomed the visitors on behalf of the Victoria Hill residents, and the chairman of the shire, Councillor T. Muir, apologised for the absence of the Main Roads Commis; sioner, Mr. Kemp. At the request of Councillor Morris Mrs. Muir performed the opening ceremony by cutting a ribbon held across the road by the Misses M. Frizzell and M. Morris. At the ban quet, Councillor Morris referred to the importance of the road linking such a district to the railway, and their pleasure in opening such a well-built, road over the most impassable portion of the route. It would be of great benefit to the residents. The toast of the Allora Shire Council was proposed by Mr. R. Frizzell, and Councillor Muir responded. He hoped that next year a further grant would enable the Goomburra-road to be built. The toast of the contractor, Mr. L. E. Laws, was then honoured. The toast of Victoria Hill and district was proposed by Mr. F. P. Donovan, and Mr. J. H. Pachske responded. In responding to the toast of the visitors, Councillor Meara, chairman of the Clifton Shire -Council, congratulated them upon obtaining such a good road. The toast of the Warwick Co-operative Dairying Association was proposed by the chairman, Mr. R. Frizzell supporting the chairman's remarks.Mr. J. E. Nussey, chairman of directors, responded. Mr. P. Young (Ellinthorp) also responded. Several other toasts were also honoured.(4)
Gatton-Mount Sylvia Road-At the monthly meeting of the Tarampa Shire Council on June 30 the following tenders were received for the construction of one and three quarter miles of main road between Gatton and Mount Sylvia -J Aspinall £3253/1/ W B Carr £3535/10/10 Christopherson and Cameron £3242/10/3 M R Hornibrook Ltd £2n43/9/ll C J Hicks £2922/10 2 L E Laws £2270/0/6 G W S Dance £3558/0/11 J O Shea £4548/14/3 Albion Quarrying Proprietary Co Ltd £2631/13/6 Banks Ltd £2332/4/9 E M William £3192/8/ The Main Roads estimate was £3026/15/ It was decided to recommend the tender of L E Laws to the Main Roads Commissioner (5)
Gatton-Mt. Sylvia Road.-The Main Roads Commission has accepted the tender of Mr. L. E. Laws of £2405 for the construction of the necessary links on this road between Gatton and the Tent Hill Hotel. The work will be started immediately.(6)
Tenders were received for the construction of a section of the Nobby-Pilton main road from the railway line as follows:-A. Reid and Co. (Southport), £3038/18/7; John McIllwain, £3626/8/1; A. Lind and Sons, £3664/1/; P. Truss, £3537/17/; E. Sharman, £3720/ 1/; L. E. LAWS, Jun., £4065/16/; J. Garum, £4078/10/; A. Miller, £4116/2/6; W. C. Kerr, Ltd., £4255/1/8; M. R. Hornibrook, Ltd., £4315/5/4; W. J. Coates, £4546/18/. Messrs Reid and Co.'s tender has been submitted to the Main Roads Commission for approval.
For the formation and metalling, and bitumen surfacing for a further section of the Toowoomba-Goondiwindi main road, the following tenders were received:-L. E. Laws, Jun., £2948/0/7; A. Miller, £3405/10/4; A. Reid and Co., £3564/2/3; John McIllwain, £3952/1/10; P. Truss, £3965/1/9; M. R. Hornibrook, Ltd., £3972/1/10; W. J. Coates, £4516/12/5: J. Garum, £4788/8/: A. Lind and Son, £4836. The tender of L. E. Laws was approved, and submitted to the Main Roads Commission.
The formation of C class metalling, for further sections of the Nobby-Felton main road, the following tenders were received: -A Reid and Co., £3038/11/5; John McIllwain, £3287/13/1; Hicks and Burrough, £3308/14/8; A. Lind and Son, £3442/14/6; J. Garum, £3662/14/6; A. Miller. £3654/ 12/2½; L. E. LAWS, Jun., £3756/15/; M R. Hornibrook. Ltd., £3817/17/6; W. C. Kerr, Ltd., £3843/17/1; P. Truss. £3845/ 15/8: E. Sharman, £4011/19/6; J. Coates,£4085/19/4. The tender of Messrs. A. Reid and Co; Southport, was recommended to the Main Roads Commission.(7)
Of course there are many more contracts he worked on but these stories were my favourites.
1925 'A CONTRACTOR'S DIFFICULTY.', Warwick Daily News (Qld. : 1919 -1954), 10 December, p. 8, viewed 18 April, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article175654984