Just over a century ago Western Australia’s deficit meant the State was building up huge debts.
The blame, as it turned out, was to be laid squarely at the door of a government committed to large-scale projects without actually costing them properly or having the money to pay for them in cash.
There was a huge waste of money down by the waterfront. Not Elizabeth Quay this time, but formal gardens with beautiful grass and flowers. Just where it was likely that a quay or a wharf would be needed.
Even though faced with a budget shortage, the Government still went ahead with major building projects like a new stadium at Burswood. No, sorry, our mistake. Not a stadium, but an Art Gallery, so the leisured few could stroll around it on a Sunday afternoon.
No one could deny that investing in a public library or a technical school were essential. And given the mining industry, perhaps even a geological museum could be justified.
But not an art gallery, not a zoo, and certainly not an observatory. None of these could be defended until Western Australia had a population much larger than it had in 1909.
It was simple. Western Australia’s financial troubles were wholly of its own creation.