Sat 3 Jul 1926, Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931)

By a Special Representative of The Register.

Minlaton is the trading centre of a prosperous agricultural area on Yorke's Peninsula, 18 miles in a northerly direction from Yorketown, and 17 miles inland from Port Vincent. It is probably the best laid out country town in South Australia, for it is bounded by four terraces—North, South, East, and Weet—which are again surrounded by well-fenced parklands 297 acres in extent. Avenues of ornamental trees beautify the main thoroughfares, while the streets are all spacious, and are uniformly called First, Second, Third, Fouth, and Fifth streets. The town is subdivided, into blocks of land, each containing an area of half an acre. A number of modern bungalows and villas have recently been erected, and there are now over 125 houses in the town. Roads in the district, all of limestone formation, compare favourably with those in other country districts. The main road from Yorketown to Paskeville is undergoing reconstruction and repairs at the present time in many places. A Federal grant of £1,500 has been given to the District Council of Minlaton for main road work, And this sum is being spent on work along this route. From Minlaton township, roads branch off for Stansbury, Port Vincent, Curramulka, Maitland, Fort Rickaby, Brentwood, and Yorketown.

Minlaton district is composed of the Hundreds of Minlacowie, Koolywurtie, Curramulka, and Ramsay—an area altogether of 229,028 acres—stretching across Yorke's Peninsula from gulf to gulf. A new assessment of property in this district is at the present time being undertaken by Mr. R. W. Langman, of Adelaide.

An Aboriginal Hunting Ground.

Close to Minlaton, on tbe eastern side of the town, lies Gum Flat, so called by reason of its many stately gums, similar in variety to those met with along the River Murray. The flat, some 50 acres in extent, is the only part of Yorke's Peninsula in which native gums have ever grown. Each winter the rains convert most of this flat into flooded swamp, and this perhaps, is the reason why a number of the old trees are dying. The old Gum Flat homestead was situated among the trees, only half a mile on the eastern side of Minlaton. The flat was a favourite hunting ground of the aboriginals in the early days, and many of their remains have been found at various times in the swamp land region. At one time kangaroos, wallabies, and emus abounded in the locality. Kangaroos are still plentiful in the Stansbury scrub, although wallabies and emus have completely left the peninsula. Between Minlaton and Stansbury there is a tract of scrubland country, 10 miles in extent, which is reckoned to be a worthless area, unsuitable for agricultural purposes. The scrub is gradually being encroached upon by farmers whose holdings adjoin it, and there is every probability that it will in the future be brought into crop-yielding order. At Minlaton this scrubby country is known as the "Stansbury Scrub," while Stansbury residents speak of it as the "Minlaton Scrub," neither town seemingly desiring to own it.

Automobiles Popular.

It is understood that Minlaton district has more motor cars per head of population than any other district in South Australia, with the one exception of Maitland. This to a great extent is due to the fact that there are no railways on Yorke's Peninsula, and residents must depend on their cars for getting about. Practically every family in the district owns one or more cars, while in Minlaton township alone there are 50 cars. To keep this fleet of cars in good order there are three local garages. The Southern Yorke's Peninsula Motor Works, managed by Mr. W. J. Riddle, attends to all classes of engineering and motor work. Apart from general business, the firm generates electricity for the town. The intersections of the streets are lit by 11 street lights, while besides this there are over 100 consumers of light and power. The consumption of electricity during the past 12 months has increased by 50 per cent. The firm at present engaged In installing an auxiliary engine and generator of three-quarters the size of the present plant. The engine at present runs constantly for 13 hours each day. A kerbside pump has recently been installed by the garage in the main street. Messrs. Freeman & Dunnet, of Ardrossan, in February. 1925, took over the garage at Minlaton formerly carried on by the late Harry Butler. The present plant is quite up-to-date, and the garage undertakes all motor repair and engineering work. The firm controls eight different car agencies, and reports 61 car and motor cycle sales during the past 12 months.

Minlaton has since January 1 last been served by a daily railway motor bus service, which passes through the town on its way from Paskeville to Yorketown. Residents can purchase a return ticket to Adelaide for 27/ first class and 22/ second class; which carries them per motor bus to Paskeville, thence by train to Adelaide. The car leaves Minlaton for Paskeville at 6.10 a.m., and returns to the town at 4.8 p.m. Mails, luggage, cargo, and passengers are all catered for on the car. It is excacted that as soon as the railway line is broadened from Bowmans to Kadina an even better service will be given. Saturday afternoon in Minlaton is the farmers day in town, and on this day dozens of motor cars may be seen lined along the main street. Saturday is the busiest day for the storekeeper, too. Irregularities in regard to the weekly half-holiday in the neighbouring towns to Minlaton is very unsatisfactory. Minlaton, Stansbury, and Port Vincent stores close on Wednesday afternoons, Yorketown and Edithburgh on Friday afternoons, and Curramulka and Maitland on Saturday afternoon's.

Up-to-date Farmers.

The latest power farming machinery and agricultural implements are being generally called into requisition by tbe Minlaton farmer of to-day. Since the introduction of superphosphate to arable land near Minlaton years ago by the late Mr. Joseph Parsons, land then worth in the region of £1 per acre-immediately rose in price, and since then values have steadily increased with succeeding years. Minlaton farming property at the present time is being sold for from £8 to £18, the average value of agricultural land in the locality being estimated at £12 per acre. Practically every farmer in the district combines sheep and cattle with his wheatgrowing operations. Foremost among breeders are Messrs. H. Mumford, S. F. Hoyle, F. H. Tonkin, Brown Brothers, G. R- Giles, and T. J. Butler. Among well-known primary producers are Messrs. J. C. Gersch, J. Brown, F. H. Tonkin, F. Mahar, and T. Brown, and there are many others too numerous to mention. Many successful farmers have just recently retired, and have settled down in Minlaton, building for their own comfort substantial bungalows and villas. Among these may be included Messrs. P. G. King (Koolywurtie), James Brown (Koolywurtie), J. Martin, the late Simon Vanstone (Brentwood), H. Boundy (Brentwood), and A. Bishop. Minlaton has three local stock and auctioneering events who act for the farmers and graziers in the surrounding districts—Messrs. Goldabrough, Mort, & Co., D. M. S. Davies, and Elder, Smith, & Co., Limited. The introduction of superphosphate to the district has not only benefited the wheat and barley production, but has been the means of increasing the carrying capacity of land for stock, as well as for sheep. The Central Yorke's Peninsula Agricultural Society holds its annual meeting on the Minlaton Showgrounds. There is some controversy as to the date of its first meeting, although the general opinion of residents is that it was held in 1877 on a small township allotment. From its inception the society gradually progressed. Five years later 10 acres of park lands was reserved for show purposes. A further seven and a half acres was added in 1902, and thus the present showground is one of the largest in country areas. The grounds are excellently situated, and are surrounded by a substantial stone wall. The ring itself—one-third of a mile in circumference—is surrounded by lofty gum trees. The late Mr. D. J. Teichelmann was the secretary of the society for 29 years, during which time it made splendid progress. The gate money in 1882 amouonted to £40, and entry fees £31. At last year's show meeting, held on October 28, 1925, those totalled £318 and £172 respectively. At this meeting cash prizes awarded amounted to £508, in addition to 49 cups and trophies, valued at over £230. Motor cars parked around the grounds numbered 1,200. This year the oval is to be enclosed by a substantial fence, and considerable extensions to the main show building are contemplated. Sheepyards of concrete and galvanized piping, equal to any in the State, were erected on the ground two years ago at a cost of, £300. The society is fortunate to possess such men as Messrs. C. H. Boundy as President and D. M. S. Davies as secretary. A successful sheep-dog field trial was held in April last in connection with the agricultural society on the Minlaton Showgrounds. The trials continued for three, days, and there were 72 entries. Some of the sheep dogs in the locality are trained to a remarkable degree of perfection in droving sheep, and several among them are valued by their owners up to as much as £40 each. Close to Minlaton, along the main road to Maitland, is the butter and cordial factory of the Yorke's Peninsula Co-operation, Limited, at which large quantities of butter are manufactured. The cordials supply the demand throughout all the districts between Arthurton and Yorketown, and in the summer season ice and icecream are manufactured. Most of the shares of the company are held by local producers, who send in their cream to be treated. Since the establishment of this factory two other similar factories have been opened at Yorketown and Stansbury. During the past few years the dairying industry has made great strides, as most of the land in the district is suitable for dairying. The managing director of the company is Mr. E. Jaehne, the Chairman Mr. D. M. S. Davies, and secretary Mr. D. Nickels.

Minlaton has for the past three years had a continuous telephone service. At the present time 138 subscribers are connected with the local exchange, and additional homes are continually being linked up. The recent expansion in telephone business is attributable to the instinctive progressiveness of district farmers, the better facilities given by the Posal Deparment, and to the enthusiasm of the postmaster (Mr. E. C. Melville). Being the centre of a large outlying district, the Minlaton Post Offiee officials handle a large amount of postal matter. Minlaton has four churches, the Baptist, Methodist, Anglican and Roman Catholic, all of which contribute to the religious welfare of the district. A parish hall in connection with the Church of England has just been erected adjoining the church, at a cost of over £2,000, A successful dance is held fortnightly in this hall, proceeds from which are in aid of the new building. The Minlaton Institute—with seating accommodation for an audience of 800—is one of the largest of its kind in the State (in country areas). Towards the end of last year two new dressing rooms and a billiard, room were built at the rear of the hall. The Minlaton Hospital, opened in l909, was erected by presidents of the district largely as a result of the organizing efforts of Mr. P. C, King. The institution provides invaluable hospital treatment for a country population spread over a wide area. A new isolation block, a welcome addition the hospital, was opened in March last, by Sir David Gordon. Dr. C, Richards, of Moonta, has just recently taken over the practice at Minlaton, formerly carried on Dr. A. B. Russell, who now resides at Yorketown. Minlaton Hotel prominently situated in Minlaton main street, caters for a big section of the tavelling public.

Minlaton has two banking institutions in its main street, The Bank of Adelaide, and the Commercial Bank. Both of these have been established locally for many years, and efficiently conduct the financial transactions of a primary production area of more than ordinary wealth, there being probably no sounder or surer crop district in Australia.

The two largest stores at Minlaton are those of Messrs. Trehearne, Limited, and E. Jaehne, which, between them cater for the large and varied demands of this prosperous district. Messrs. A. McKenzie end Son established a leather business in Minlaton in 1902, and have kept abreast of the times in the trade, although, owing to the increase in the number of motor cars, the harness trade has suffered. The firm is now concentrating more actively on the boot and shoe department. The Minlaton Racing Club was formed less than two years ago, and has up to the present time held two successful meetings. Results from the meeting held in March last showed a net profit of £185. The club secured a long lease at a peppercorn rental of 80 to 100 acres of land situated two miles north of the town. All improvements are of a substantial nature. The running track, fenced in on both sides all, the-way round the course, is considered by owners and trainers alike to be one of the best running tracks outside the metropolitan area.

A Popular Holiday Resort.

Port Vincent, 10 miles north of Stansbury, and 40 miles across St. Vincent Gulf from Adelaide, is one of the prettiest seaside resorts on Yorke's Peninsula. The town itself is built on ground that years ago was under water, while behind the houses stand what were originally seacliffs. Two steamers visit the port weekly; the Juno calls every Tuesday, returning the following day to Port Adelaide, and the Warrawee arrives each Friday, sailing again on its return journey on the same day. Both of these boats carry away large cargoes on every trip, these being comprised principally of lime, grain, and farm produce. Just lately 150 ft. of new wharf has been added to the present wharf, which, when completed will greatly improve landing facilities. The two local lime kilns export between than approximately 1,000 bags of lime per Week to Adelaide. Port Vincent is a receiving depot for the grain grown in the Minlaton and Curramulka districts, and in the wheat season is a very busy port, the grain being shipped to Port Adelaide mostly by ketches. An average of 60,000 to 100,000 bags of grain are shipped from Port Vincent each year. The town has a fleet of fishing boats, and large quantities of whiting and other fish are shipped away on the steamers every week.


Curramulka is a progressive township nine miles in a north-easterly direction from Minlaton. It is tbe centre of an agricultural and pastoral area in which farmers are conspicuously prosperous. Curramulka has its store, bank, garage, post office, hotel and other public buildings. During the past year seven new residences have been erected in the town, and a movement is now on foot to provide a new private hospital. There is a fine soldiers' memorial in the centre of the town, surrounded by gardens, and by a substantial cyclone fence. A coursing meeting—one of the biggest events of its kind in South Australia—is to be held at Curramulka in July next. .

Mr James Martin,

Chairman of the District Council of Minlaton for the past three years. He has held many public positions at Minlaton during his 33 years of residence in the locality, and always been a keen agriculturist and pastoralist. photo

Stansbury—a Progressive Yorke's Peninsula Seaport. photo

Mr. E. W. Jaehne,

Proprietor of the Jubilee Stores, at Minlaton, and managing director of the Y.P. Co-operative, Limited. He is President of the local Boy Scouts, and also of the cricket club, and Patron of the football club. Another of his many public positions is that of superintendent of the Minlaton Methodist Sunday School. photo

Capt. John Gennein,

a well-known resident of Stansbury, who traded as master of The Ceres, between Port Adelaide and Yorke'a Peninsula ports for 27 years, and for a few years prior to that he was captain of the ketch Edith-Alice, which traded to Salt Creek. He retired from the sea in 1903. photo

A View of Port Vincent, looking from a northerly direction. photo

Sacred to the Memory of the Glorious Dead — Minlaton's Soldiers' Memorial.