INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE.
PIONEERING YORKE'S PENINSULA. DEVELOPMENT. WEST AND SOUTH.
If the more closely settled areas of Yorke's Beninsula impressed the Parliamentary party; the little known and less worked country between Yorketown and Cape Spencer amazed them. During the week-end they saw some of the finest coastal scenery in the State, enjoyed wonderful hospitality in a model self contained industrial settlement, and passed through hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural country awaiting cultivation.
At Edithburgh members of the party were told to remember that the peninsula did not end until they reached that centre; the next day they found that in many respects the peninsula does not begin until Edithburgh has been passed. To those who have not studied the map it is amazing that there is such a huge tract of country stretching away to the southern-most point, most of it undeveloped. In fact, almost the whole of Southern Yorke's Peninsula is still in the pioneer stage. Huge tracts of scrub country are held on pastoral leases. In patches barley and wheat are being tried with encouraging results. This part of the peninsula also supports the gypsum industry.
The party, accompanied by the Chief Inspector of Mines (Mr. L. J. Winton) and the Mayor of Yorketown (Mr. J. Ferguson) and others, left Yorketown on Sunday morning, and was motored across to Warooka, before Betting out for Cape Spencer. The Warooka district is worse off this season than in 1914. But that is not so bad as it reads. In the drought Warooka was more fortunate than most other districts, and had an average rainfall. This year the falls to date are two or three inches less than in 1914; but, notwithstanding the dryness, the crops will not yield very much less than usual. From Warooka the cars struck south across the peninsula, at its narrowest, and followed down the coast from Sturt Bay amid delightful coastal scenery. The grandeur of the scene increased every mile. Rising from the low land arouud Marion Bay, the party accended the headland of Stenhouse Bay and looked out over a seascape, formed by Cape Spencer and the Althorpes, slightly resembling, but excelling, the view overlooking Victor Harbour. The party vas met at Stenhouse Bay by Mr. W. R. D. Innes. All the members of the party, even those who had previously visited Cape Spencer, were impressed by the progress made there and the extent to which the settlement has grown. Substantial houses dot the scrub on both sides of the valley overlooking the gypsum lake. In the afternoon they were given the opportunity to get an idea of the immensity of the gypsum deposits in the vicinity, the growth of its manufacture, and the neglected beauty spots. The rugged cliffs, huge seas, combers and breakers, sandy beaches, shell beaches, islands, and pleasant climate should make this one of the choicest holiday and tourist resorts in South Australia; but up to the present it is little known. The Tourist Bureau, however, is at present considering running trips to southern Yorke's Peninsula, and a project for a chalet or holiday house is also mooted. The visitors were motored across the corner of the end of the peninsula to near the wreck of the Ethel by West Cape, end to Brown Bay, noted for its fishing, and Pondalowie Bay, one of the prettiest spots on the coast.
Inneston— Communal Life.
The whole settlement, formerly known disparagingly as the cape, or the camp, but in future to be called Inneston, after the founder, is controlled by the Inneses, Mr. W. E. D. in Melbourne, and Messrs. J. A. S. and H. at Cape Spencer. Not only have they shown great enterprise and determination in working the gypsum, but they are at the same time clearing and cultivating the land, and by producing good barley crops proving the possibilities of agricultural development. Beginning in isolation, their company, the Peninsula Plaster Company, has established an industrial settlement which is practically self-contained, and which it would be difficult to excel for prosperity and contentment. The workmen receive good wages, have their houses rent free, and every facility for welfare. The settlement is electrically lit, and every institution— all of them run by the company— is modelled on the most modern and complete lines. In view of the enthusiasm displayed in the Parliamentary visit, it was fitting that Inneston should have been the scene of the most speech-making of the tour, and of a review of impressions. Every member of Parliament spoke and expressed surprise at the extent of the operations, and commended Mr. Innes for the fine spirit of co-operation which existed between master and men. They agreed that the name should be changed to Inneston, and said it was encouraging to fee industry carried on under the existing difficulties without help from the Government, and gave the peninsula credit for not requiring spoon-feeding. Special mention was made of the fact that the agricultural possibilities were also being tested, with encouraging results, judging by the barley crop, which promised to yield between eight and 10 bags to the acre. The local members, Messrs. Tossell and Giles, pointed out that injustice had been done to the company; as it had built its own jetty, but was now being charged jetty dues, to ship over its property. They also stated that the residents wanted a straight road to Warooka, and suggested that application should be made to the Commonwealth Government to construct the road as a developmental work. They thanked those who had helped in arranging the trip, Mr. K. Wilkinson, of Yorketown, and the motor drivers, particularly Messrs. G. Kemp and J. Chinner, of Yorketown. and Messrs. G. Croser and S. Vigar, of Warooka, and suggested that Inneston should be made a ward for the Warooka council. The speakers were Messrs. Shepherd, Anthoney, Pedler, Thompson, Jettner, and Sutton.
Lakes of Gypsum.
Work was begun on the gypsum in the southern extremity of Yorke's Peninsula in 1889, and the industry promises to become one of the most important on the peninsula. Two companies are operating — the Peninsula Plaster Company, at Inneston, and the Victor Plaster Company, a new concern which took over from A. H. Hasell at Marion Bay. Fourteen years ago Mr. W. Innes went to Cape Spencer with horses and a dray and began work in the scrub. Since then the company has spent abont £100,000 in the plant and settlement, and, working on one lease, has extracted nearly 30,000 tons a year for the last 10 years. Originally the gypsum was shipped away for treatment, but since 1916 it has. been made into plaster of paris on the field, turning out 10,000 tons a year. Messrs. Innes showed the visitors over their factory, which works three shifts seven days a week. Handled by machinery from the time it is dumped, the washed gypsum is dried, ground, burned, and bagged. Four miles of track have been laid to the company's private jetty at Stenhouse Bay. The whole plant is so well equipped that all repairs are done on the spot and much of the plant made there. Eighty men are employed. School chalks are also proiluced. At the other works the manager, Mr. L. S. Davis, conducted the inspection. The gypsum is taken from the lake, a mile square, and shipped to Melbourne for manufacture. The company's output in the Melbourne factory is 25,000 tons a year. Fifteen men are employed at Marion Bay. The company have extended the jetty by 1,300 feet, and ship away 800 tons a week. At present two shifts of 12 hours are being worked. Mr. Davis also had a grievance with the Harbours Board for levying jetty, dues over the jetty built by the company and in refusing even to grant ground moorings.
Roads and Shipping.
The southern end of the peninsula, being still most undeveloped, has many needs, and on the run back to Warooka some handicaps to progress were indicated. The party returned along the mail track to Corny Point, along a road upon which the Councillors of Warooka themselves took an axe and cleared scrub. The party were entertained at tea by the Warooka District Council. The Chairman (Mr. E. Barlow) presided, and welcomed the visitors; and Mr. T. Taheny, in support, stated that Warooka would have refused a subsidy for their new hall if they had been offered one. The clerk of the council (Mr. J. D. Penhall) aired their grievances. He pointed out that Warooka, with 642.5 miles of road in the district, had only 11.5 miles of main road; and received a main-road grant of £160. At least half of the Corny Point road should be a main road, because 30,000 tons passed over it annually. The lack of shipping facilities at Corny Point was deplorable. Shippers first took their cargo in a dray into tho sea to a cargo hulk, and from that transferred to a ketch. Last year, from 12,000 to 14,000 bags of barley was shipped thence, and the provision of facilities would increase the trade by 10,000 bags.
Mr. Tossell contented that a main road should start from Warooka to develop the land at the south end of the peninsula, and, possibly, the industrial works at the west end. The ladies who provided the tea were Mesdames E. T. BarIow, J. A. M. McKenie, H. T. Vigar, A. J. Vigar, T. A. Murdock, W. Keonnecke, and F. T. Taheny.
Warooka, thriving as it is, represents solid prosperity derived from hard work. Fifteen years ago it was scrub land, like much of the undeveloped corner of the peninsula. It is blessed with a good assured rainfall. Thorough farmers have laboured unremittingly in working the soil, and to-day they had their reward in splendid returns. A paddock of barley on a Warooka farm reaped 46 bushels to the acre. After spending the night at Yorketown, the party took the railway bus to Paskeville on Tuesday morning, and returned to Adelaide by train.