The Royal Commission on Communication between Sydney and North Sydney was established on 11 May 1908.
The Commissioners were authorised to appoint the necessary staff, and in order to complete their task, were authorised
to enter any land or premises;
call all necessary witnesses;
require the production of records or other documentation and when required inspect these in the building where they were held.
The Commission held 30 meetings for taking evidence and met 42 times in Committee in addition to making visits to sites. (3) Witnesses included architects, engineers, naval officers and administrators from the public sector, overseas and in private practice, academics, and members of the public. (4)
Henry Harvey Dare, who was seconded to Commission by the Department of Public Works, was requested by the Commissioners to prepare sketch designs and estimates for railway, tramway and vehicular subways (6) and he also revised the estimated cost of the Bridge as recommended by the Sydney Harbour Bridge Advisory Board in 1903. (7) William Hutchinson, Chief Engineer for Railway and Tramway Construction prepared a scheme for a railway connection and a tramway tunnel scheme. (8) Other witnesses presented sketches and plans to support their opinions.
Initially the Commissioners were to report on their findings within one month but this deadline was extended several times to allow for the acquisition of data, preparation of estimates and other tasks related to the findings, (5) and the final report was presented to the Governor on 29 March 1909. (9)
The Commissioners recommended the construction of separate railway, tramway and motor vehicle subways for several reasons including economy of construction, convenience for passengers, ease of extension, and compatibility with the existing railway systems.
(1) Copy of an extract from the Register of Patents No. 27, page 228 11 May 1908 reproduced in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1909 Vol. 5 p. 3
(2) Loc. Cit.
(3) Report of the Royal Commission on Communication between Sydney and North Sydney 29 March 1909 p. ix in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1909 Vol 5 p. 7
(4) Report of the Royal Commission ... Appendix A (p.xxx)
(5) Ibid p. ix
(6) Ibid p. xvi
(7) Ibid p. xvii
(8) Ibid. p. xvi
(9) Ibid p. ix