Sat 6 Nov 1886, Wallaroo Times (Port Wallaroo, SA : 1882 - 1888)

Oil Saturday morning last, in connection with a few friends, I started for Maitland via Agery and Arthurton. On the way down the Peninsula we very naturally took a great interest in the appearance of the country, and endeavored to gain, something:; like an idea of the prospects of the approaching harvest. So far as the country immediately surrounding Kadina is concerned it is , generally known that the result of the growing crop will be at least disappointing. There has not been sufficient moisture, and the intervals between the showers have been so long that growth has been greatly retarded. All along for miles the cry of the fields seemed to be water! water ! Between Boor's Plains chapel and Cunliffe things wore a little more cheerful aspect, although there seemed no prospect of a heavy wheat yield. Some of tile crops are a fair height, but as a rule they are so dreadfully dirty that the sooner the mower goes into them the better it will be" for the district. In some cases haymaking is already in full swing, and here and there the cocks of hay are fairly large and numerous. The scrub around Cunliffe is looking quite pretty, the combination of pine and eucalyptus, together with the earth's flowery carpet, making a very charming scene for the lover of the beautiful. Proceeding on as far as Agery a still further improvement is observable. Tiparra has yielded good returns in past years, and this year promises to be no exception to the rule. Much of the land under cultivation this year is perfectly new, and it is a treat to notice the clean, healthy looking crops-on either side. From inquiries made, I found that what we saw might be regarded as a fair sample of the hundred. It is, however, a strange thing to see on one side of the road a magnificent crop, promising heavy returns and on the opposite side, with precisely similar soil, a complete failure. Farmers, of course, differ in the " modus operandi" of tilling generally, and in many eases small results are not at all to be wondered at. However, the soil around here is generally good, and with a good water supply, yields would unquestionably be very heavy. From Agery on to Arthurton, the crops vary considerably, most of them being stunted in growth, and requiring more moisture. From Arthurton to Maitland there is scarcely a good paddock to be seen, exceptit is just on the rising ground, about two miles from Maitland. Most of the country between is covered with dense scrub, and, as I have travelled the road scores of times, by day and night, I safely affirm it to be one of the most monotonous and uninteresting drives I know of. The Government have sunk a splendid dam about half way between the two places, and as it has good catchment surroundings, it will be a great convenience in dry years. But the attempts which have been made at cultivation hereabouts have been sadly disappointing. The land seems to have had a fair trial, a few crops have been tried, each one worse than the former, and now the homes are left untenanted and the lands are again fast being covered with mallee bushes. When, however, you come within a few miles of Maitland, an altogether different scene presents itself ; this town always presents a neat and comfortable appearance, and since its exaltation to a corporate town, the improvements have been of a substantial kind. The streets are wide and well formed, and the town has unsurpassed natural drainage. The Hundred of Maitland has always yielded paying returns. It has always returned the average of the colony, and generally more, and, as a natural result, the farm-houses present an aspect of comfort very rarely seen. This year will be no exception. A few weeks ago many were anxious about the result, but the late splendid rains have completely transformed the appearance of things, and now the farmers speak more hopefully. The York Valley contains a splendid stretch of country which for grass growing can scarcely be excelled. The feed there now is luxuriant, and hundreds more head of stock might here find abundant pasture. The Hundred of Mooloowurtie does not present as hopeful an aspect as we expected to see. In a round of about twenty five miles we did not see one really good crop, and as most of the country is is quite new, this was discouraging. Very little water was to be seen, although we passed some excellent dams, but most of these were open to the sun, and as I am informed on reliable authority that evaporation takes away not less than three feet of water annually, it seems to be a great mistake, which, however, is generally made, to leave them uncovered. The Government have recently made an excellent dam on the Yorketown Road, fourteen feet in depth, and if it can only be once filled it will contain a plentiful supply for a long time. The country in this district is exceedingly suitable for catchment purposes. On the road to Port Victoria there are, as usual, some very likely looking crops. Most of the farmers in this locality are Germans, and they seem to have been specially favored with good crops. In the neighbourhood of Port "Victoria and Point Pearce the returns will be very light. This country never does well except in very wet seasons, and as these have been very rare lately, the farmers have not had a very rosy time of it. The same may be said of the country in the direction of Wauraltee and Mount Rat. On Monday morning we had the opportunity of seeing one of the party who has just returned from the Kimberley Goldfields. Quite a strong company left Maitland some months ago, fully equipped, to try their fortunes there, and already most of them have returned sadder and doubtless wiser men. Some never went as far as the field, and those who did have had to work very hard in a very hot climate for small returns. Mr M. T. Tiddy showed us a nice little nugget which he retained as a memento of the expedition. At the residence of Mr P. Howard, J.P., we had the opportunity of obtaining some information, and witnessing some experiments in the use of the Divining Rod. A good deal of interest has been awakened in this district, and wells are being sunk to test the accuracy of this medium. Mr E. H. Derrington, who has visited the district recently, advocating temperance principles, has been most successful in using the Divining Rod. He has discovered some forty water supplies in the north for farmers, and wherever they have been tested, success has been attained. A farmer near Ardrossan guaranteed Mr Derrington a hundred pounds if by this means he could ensure him a good supply, and he found a spot where it is hoped success will be assured. There are a few local residents who are able to use the rod, and many are anxiously awaiting the tests being made. Several who were present on Monday tried their powers. With me the rod remained quite stationary, but with my wife it operated most successfully. In a few families in this neighborhood, very successful attempts have been made at '' Muscle Reading." We had an opportunity of witnessing some most interesting experiments, and were more man ever convinced that there were very may things of which we had not dreamt of in our philosophy. We returned to Kadina via Weetulta and Moonta. Perhaps the best crop we have seen for the season was near Weetulta.

The scrub country on the way to Moonta .seems to be fast coming under cultivation. In every direction now there seems to be abundance of feed. The Peninsula Road Board, and their excellent superintending Surveyor, Mr Jones, are certainly to be congratulated on the excellence of the roads throughout the District. . ,