Kadina steam flour mills.

As a private enterprise, there is none on the Peninsula which is better entitled to the commendation of the people than. Mr Charles Kimber's Mill, at Kadina. To it, in a great measure Kadina owes whatever good it has derived from the agriculturalists, who in coming to that town: to dispose of their produce have been led to transact other business, which with the Mines has made the town what it is at the present time.

In 1869, when the Mill was built, the now large farming district of Green's Plains,' had but few settlers located on it—and as it was thought "by almost everyone, an act of madness to attempt wheat growing north of Gawler, especially on the Peninsula, which was looked upon by Adelaideans as little short of a second " Saraha") it required a considerable amount of foresight and courage to undertake the establishment of such a business. Water was scarce and in addition to the cost of building the mill and stores, large reservoirs had to be constructed which was no small item, in the total outlay. However in the face of this the excellent mill which we now see at Kadina was built, and we are proud to congratulate Mr Ember on the success that has followed his undertaking. The mill has four pair of stones, and the internal machinery is arranged most compactly ; and is driven by an engine of 30 horse power. Since the erection of the mill nearly all the machinery has been replaced by the most recent inventions. Two years ago a new engine was put in, and last year Mr Kimber visited Europe, and since his return has introduced at considerable cost, the Araeri can high grinding process, which, not only increases the quantity, but improves the quality of the flour, la addition to this, new smutting machines, and other apparatus, have been introduced, so that at the present time the Kadina mill is equal to anj in the colony as regards its capabilities for turning out flour of first-class quality. In case of fire an 800 gallon tank is placed in the top storey of the buiidiug. from which a pipe is led down to the bottom, there being a tap and buckets on each floor. Mr Kimber has also constructed a condensing apparatus, by means of a number of iron tanks, and in "consequence there is no waste. As a proof of its efficacy during the year of the intense drought, it may be stated that there was abundance of water, not only for the use of the mill itself, but also for the large number of teams, which came in with wheat. The storage accommodation is large, there being room for upwards of 60,000 bushels of wheat, irrespective of the mill itself. Now that another mill is about to be started in the district we hope to see a healthy rivalry, and trust that both establishments may prosper and benefit their respective localities. We hope that everyone who has it in their power to further the interests of these establishments will do so, considering the part they play in furthering the interests of the respective towns of Kadina and Wallaroo, and the peninsula generally.


Some Farming Reminiscences. By G. E. Middleton, Salisbury.

In The Register of December I your Kadina correspondent gives a graphic account of the history and the demolition of the old Kardina flour mill, which was erected in the year 1870. He said that the only wheat grown then on northern Yorke's Peninsula was at Green's Plains and Boor's Plain: that it was not till about the year 1875 that the land around Willamulka, Bute, and adjoining places, was opened for selection; and that wheat was carted thence by road in those pre-railway days, and from other farming districts fully 50 miles away. The latter might be correct, but along the Snowtown railway line, which was opened for traffic in the year 1878, there was not one bag of wheat produced between the sevenmile crossing and nearly out to Barunga Gap including Willamulka, Mona, and Bute, until the year 1880, when the late Mr. Joseph Hore. sen., who came from Cornwall and Wallaroo Mines, had a crop of wheat growing at the 10-mile crossing at the north-west portion of the Hundred of Ninnes. Mr. Hore informed me that he was really the first settler in that locality, and I had no reason to believe otherwise. In the following year, 1881, the late Mr. W. H. B. Paterson had about 50 acres of wheat close to where the Willamulka Church now stands, and the late Mr. Edmund Pannell. of Kadina, had a crop of wheat growing at the 15-mile camp now called Mona, and Messrs. Tully and Eatt were rolling down the scrub with a team of bullocks and a scrub roller when I first saw the place. There were also railway cottages there, and a dam. which was full, and was afterwards leased to Mr. Parnell, who supplied the farmers around at 4d. a tank as long as the water lasted. After the dam gave out water was brought up from Balaklava by train, and cost 8/-a tank on the trucks. The late Mr. Thomas McEntee and myself each selected land at the 12 mile and 13 mile respectively, in the same week in August. 1881. and I stayed on it till 1901: therefore I know a little about when they started growing wheat on the scrub land in that district. Of course wheat was grown some years previously on a long narrow strip called Ninnes Plain, by the late Mr. George Ormsby. The Thomas Plain was also under cultivation lone before the scrub land was looked at. When I arrived there trip surveyors had only just started survey'ng the Hundred of Wiltunga; and Bute, being in Wiltunga, there could not have been any wheat from that quarter to supply the Kadina mill with corn. In 1882 the Wallaroo Mining Company put in a siding at their own expense at the nine and a half mile in the Hundred of Kadina, which later was named Willamulka, to obtain firewood and gundering for the mines. Several of the farmers signed contracts to supply on trucks large quantities of that product, as the land was very heavily timbered with mallee about there, and also-with oaks and. tea- tree. But the majority of' those early settlers have passed on. The only ones living now, so far as I know, who selected land in the Hundred of Ninnes within three miles on either side of the line between Willamulka and Mona, up till 1881, are Messrs. .William Hall, sen., of Owen: Joseph Roe, of Kadina; William Cock, of Willamulka; John Mercer, of Magill Peter Crawford, of the West Coast; H. D. Green, of Kadina;. William Hall, jun., of Adelaide; and myself. The first load of wheat I took to the Kadina mill was from the harvest of 1882, and I sent the rest by rail from the 16 miles siding; the price started at 4/10. per bushel, and rose in January to . 5/4. The crop realized eight bushels per acre. Mr. John Styles was the proprietor of the mill; Mr. Cudlip, the manager, died suddenly the following year; and was succeeded by Mr. Mallyon. who was before that manager. of the local National Bank. Mr. R. J. Rodda,who is still in the district, weighed the first load of wheat I took there, and was junior clerk in the office at that time. Mr. Mallyon was manager until the business was absorbed by Messrs. John Darling & Son, and Mr. James Darling, manager, is still residing in Kadina: In September, 1881, the Ninnes Land Company bought out 8,000 acres south of Mona at £1 per acre for speculative purposes. The venture afterwards proved to be a 'white elephant.' After going to the ' expense of clearing the scrub off and making a ring fence they let most of it on halves, and, with the poor crops and the low price of wheat they eventually sold it at £1/ 2/6 an acre. At the end of 1881 the whole of the Hundred of Ninnes was sold either on credit selection or scrub lease. The stumpjump ploughs came into use about that time, but with only three furrows. Prior to this the wheat was simply scarified in, as it was also by the stumpjump process. In July, 1882. the land in the Hundred of Wiltunga was sold by auction at the Crown Lands Office, in Adelaide, realizing £1 /0/6 per acre (what was then sold), the rest going at £1 per acre. It was all taken up during the same year. In that case there was nothing doing in the production of grain in the neighbourhood of Bute until the harvest of 1883. the most productive year I experienced at Ninnes, the crops going from 12 bushels to 16 bushels per acre. In 1884 Mr. Styles had an agency established during the wheat season at Mona, and secured' most of the wheat around there for his mill at Kadina. The farmers had had enough of loading trucks, as, the narrowgauge line being then isolated from the Gladstone section, there was only a limited supply available. The following year Messrs. W. R. Cave & Co, John Dunn & Co., and the Adelaide Milling Company, as well as Mr. Styles, had agents stationed there during that and the following wheat season. After that they all established themselves at Bute, which became noted as a great business centre, and. being 18 miles from any other town, it soon made headway, and the wheat merchants wisely kept on their agencies all the year. The late. Mr. W. E. Mill-steed was agent for Messrs. W. R. Cave and Co., the late Mr. M. McCormack for Messrs. John Dunn &, Co., Mr. T. E Yelland represented Messrs. John Dar-ling & Son, and Mr. A. Green the Ade-laide Milling Company. In 1894 I sold a truckload of wheat at the Kadina mill. I had stored it there from, the previous harvest, having kept it for six months for 1/9 per bushel. Subsequently the price of wheat sank to as low as 1/8, and at the opening of the next season the market price had advanced to 1/11 a bushel, and it has been advancing more or less ever, since. At Willamulka Messrs. John Darling & Son were the only merchants who purchased wheat. The late Mr. R. Northey, an elderly gentleman, who had been a mining captain at the Wallaroo Mines, took the job for a term as agent for that firm, and secured a large quantity of wheat; and one or two others had the same billet, but I cannot remember their names. At last a local farmer, the late Mr. Michael Quinn, who evidently had the sole right to buy wheat for that firm, established himself there for quite a number of years. His own wheat he sent by rail to Wallaroo to be weighed off, so that his wheat would pass the same inspection as other peoples. I feel sorry for the downfall of the dear old mill. Its outside platform against the street was a resting place for many a weary couple who journeyed from the Wallaroo Mines to the town of Kadina. It was indeed, a very old landmark, and it will never he forgotten by many of the present generation.


The demolition of the old Kadina flour mill will remove the oldest landmark of the town. The tall building could be seen from many miles, and the precincts took designation and colour from Iong association with the once busy mill. Mill crossing and Mill corner were as familiar to young and old as household names.

The mill was originally built by Mr. Charles Kimber, of Clare, in 1870. At that time the wheat areas of northern Yorke's Peninsula consisted practically only Green'a Plains and Boor's Plains, and the Soar was milled to feed the growing populations of Kadina, Wallaroo, and Moonta. These were the earliest farming districts, and it was not till about 1875 that the land around Kadina, Willsmulka, Cunliffe, Bute, and Alford was opened for selection. The industry of milling flourished, and the firm subsequently became Kimber & Drew, the latter being a wholesale merchant of Moonta. In 1882 the property was purchased by Mr. John Styles, of Port Wakefield, and much enlarged. Milling was still done by stone, and the demand for flour was big, as much as a thousand tons being supplied to one Kadina customer in a month. Kadina was the centre of the industry for the peninsula, and the wheat in those early, pre-railway days, carted from Snowtown Nantawarra, Bute, and In fact from a radius of more than 50 miles from Kadina. Such was the demand for flour then, that often teams had to wait for hours under the shute for the flour to be made. Sheds for the reception of huge quantities of wheat were erected in Taylor street, Francis terrace, and later on at the railway reserve opposite the mill, while often there was more than 100,000 bags on the mill property itself.

The first export cargo of wheat from Kadina was sniped overseas from Wallaroo in 1883, during Mr. Styles ownership of the mill. In 1891 Mr. Styles retired and the mill was taken over by Mr John Darling, jun., of the firm of John Darling & Son, and the mill was converted to the steel roller system. From this on the mill worked continuously for many years, the successive managers being R. J. Rodda, John Heath, and James Darling. Ultimately work ceased, and the mill was dismantled during the war, and large quantities of material were sold locally.

At present a large gang of men is engaged in demolishing the two big main buildings in the interests of the British Imperial Oil Company, which was purchased the property for a bulk oil depot.