The history of the public buildings of Australia is the history of romance; for it runs side by side with the marvellous development of many of her gold cities, and lies close to the pioneering life of many of her most adventurous spirits; for cities have been pegged out in the heart of forests and over the wastes of the desert in a day and built in a decade, and now stand replete in all the modernity of substantial buildings, well paved streets served with all the latest electrical means of locomotion and lighting, and presenting, as such cities as Ballarat in Victoria and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia do, wonderful examples of the energy of the colonists.

The public buildings are always among the very first structures to be erected in a new township; for to the Government the people look for so many conveniences undertaken in the old country by local rather than central authorities. In Australia "The Government" looms large in every place, and the Government buildings stand well out in city and township, and have set a standard for design and substantiality, followed closely by the bank buildings in structural importance.

The enterprise which many of these buildings represent is often surprising when one remembers the tremendous difficulties of the early days of settlement. It is only ten years ago that as much as 150 per ton had to be paid in Western Australia for cartage alone of material for some of the buildings upon the goldfields, when the only means of conveyance was by camel back over desert country; yet at such enormous expenses the Government did not shrink to supply post offices, hospitals, wardens, courts, etc., for the pioneers, and when the cry was for water, hundreds of thousands of pounds were paid for dams, tanks, and condensers ere the great pipe line of pure water was laid over the 500 miles of country from the hills of Mundaring to the sandy plains of Coolgardie.