YORKE PENINSULA. A HOME OF PROSPEROUS FARMERS.
Isolated from markets and handicapped by the Reed for a railway and good water supply. Yorke Peninsla farmers enjoy a prosperity many settlers in South Australia have cause to envy.
The visit of a Parliamentary party, conducted by Messrs. H. G. Tossoll, M.P and E. H. Giles, M P.. to Yorke Peninsula during the week-end enable residents to bring before members their needs. Among those who welcomed the party at Paskevilie on Friday was Mr. T. S. Honner, president of the Maitland Agricultural and Horticultural Society, whose knowledge of the district has been gained from practical experience. His father, Mr. Richard Honner, was one ot the pioneer settlers in the district, and the son has carried on his work. Mr. Honnor was enthusiastic about the prospects of the district, and the appearance of the country justified his optimism. From the top of Schilling's Hill on the road from Paskeville to Mainland, wheat fields spread out to the horizon in every direction, and, although the season has not been so favorable as usual they gave promise of good returns. The practice generally adopted in the district is to alternate wheat and barley with fallow, but occasionally two consecutive crops of wheat are taken off the same area. As an example oi the productivity of the land a second wheat crop on Mr J. S. Coleman's land was inspected, and proved one of the best seen on the journey.
The pioneer work in the district was discouraging. Between Arthurton and Maitland were many farms which were simply left by their first owners when they found that they could not make them pay. The same farms to-day could not be purchased for £20 an acre. One settlor who obtained a holding for 7/6 an acre after the first owner had walked off, recently refused £25 an acre for the land, which is at present bearing a good second wheat crop. The test of the value of the land is its productivity, and without doubt it is returning good values in grain. Every settler in the district is comfortably situated, and the majority are prosperous. For purposes of Commonwealth Taxation, the unimproved value of the land is fixed at up to £30 an acre.
If ever a community was self-supporting the settlers on Yorke Peninsula the settlers built stone houses, which would not he out of place in the suburbs of Adelaide, are on every block. In the majority of cases they are equipped with the latest labor-saving devices. On one farm the owner has built a garage, which is equipped to handle repairs to the fleet of motor waggons he uses for carting his wheat, and he has made the greater number of the tools and implements used on his land. Residents are thrifty and hard-working; but they have a number of grievances. They complain that their district is neglected by Parliament. The recent enquiry by the Railways Standing Committee into the need for a railway from Paskeville to Maitland was the result of an agitation which began in 1912. The members of the Railway League, of which Mr. Honner is president, were pleased when the committee recommended the proposal, but they were disappoicted that Parliament, has not gone further with the proposa!. The three chain road which runs from Paskeville to Maitland would be the route followed by the railway for the greater portion of the journey, with a possible detour at Bolliver's Hill. It is claimed that the building of the line and the provision of a water supply would increase the productivity of the district. Between Paskevflle and Maitland no water is available, but the land has been cleared of mallee and is fully cultivated. Maitland is the centre of a thriving district. From the hill on the golf links the visitor can look down over the beuutiful Yorke Valley stretching to the horizon — a draught-board of green squares and brown fallow. The streets are wide and well laid out, and the houses and business premises solidly constructed, with an eye to architectural beauty. A new building to be the home of State Bank is being erected next to the post-office. The town is proud of its showgrounds. The indoor pavilion is a fine structure, and the sheep runs and stock yards, built with gas-pipe rails, are an interesting departure from the usnal wooden structures, and serve their purpose better. The Agricultural Society has just concluded its jubilee celebrations, which were marked by a week of festivities. The gate takings at the annual show, which usually exceed £400, must be the envy of similar bodies throughout the State. The road to Port Victoria from Maitland is bordered by farms and homesteads which, in many cases, are a tribute to the qualities of the German as a settler. Many of the present owners are descendants of original German settlers, whose thrift and good farming practices converted mallee scrub lands to waving corn fields. A number of well-built Lutheran churches were passed on the journey.
Port Victoria is one of the peninsula ports from which wheat and barley are shipped to Wallaroo and Port Adelaide. The town marks a division between the better class lands in the Maitland area and the thinner lands towards Yorketown. The wheat crops along the road were patchy, and in places near the coast were of no value. The magnesia in the soil affects the growth, but this effect is much more pronounced in a dry season than in a wet ones. Across the bay from Port Victoria Yorke Peninsula is seen jutting out towards Wardang Island, over which the masts of a sailing vessel stand out aginst the horizon— as a fitting monument to the many vessels that have been lost in the vicinity. The lower end of the Peninsula occupied by the Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission Station.
Minlatan to Yorketown.
In place of the mallee-lined road with cultivated fields stretching out on each side of the road from Paskeville to Port Victoria, the road to Yorketown presented a varying panorama of cultivated fields and patches of mallee scrub. The country is not so valuable as that round Maitland, but the cleared land is worth up to £20 an acre. The Maitland district can boast of its good horses. A detour was made by the Parliamentary party to enable ministers to visit the Lundus and Stud Farm the property of Messers. J. Francis and Sons. The Clydesdale stallions and mares seen here won ribbons against all comers at Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne shows.