Fri 7 Dec 1877, The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922) Trove

Readers of this journal will remember that about seven months since we despatched a " Special" to Southern Yorke's Peninsula to report upon the settlement which was then taking place, and the wants and prospects of the settlers in that district....

Headers of this journal will remember tbat about seven months since we despatched a " Special" to Southern Yorke's Peninsula to report upon the settlement which was then taking place, and the wants and prospects of the settlers in that district. The southern portion of the Peninsula was even up to that time a place comparatively unknown to the colony at large, except by its geographical" position on the map, and the vague knowledge that there were sheep stations there, and the belief tbat the land was not fit for cultivation. Some people supposed that the portion of the Peninsula which assumes the shape of a foot was all scrub, mostly mallee, and that it was only at the heel of the limb, represented by Edithburgh and Stansbury, that communication was being opened up with Yorketown, the most settled portion of the interior. These surmises were in the main correct, but settlement had actually been going on for several years before our "reporter made his visit in May last, though the progress was very slow and sure. The Hundreds of Ramsay, Dalrymple, and Melville are nearest to Adelaide on the east, and it was but natural that the invading selector should first intrude upon the squatters' domains in this locality. Minlacowie and Moorowie were invaded, and higher up the Peninsula to the north Curramulka, Muloowurtie, Koolywurtie, Wauraltee, and other Hundreds furnished agricultural lauds forthe farmer. The early history of selection in these parts was told in our previous paper, and need not be reiterated here. Owing to the increased population and the increasing prosperity of the southern part of the Peninsula, it has been found necessary to establish a speedy and regular mean3 of communication with the metropolis, and for this purpose the Glenelg s.s., Captain Bartlett, has been put on the berth by the Adelaide Steam Tug Company to trade between Port Adelaide, Edithburgh, Point Turton, Minlacowie, and Port Victoria. The service was inaugurated on Saturday, last December 1, when the Glenelg started upon her initial trip to the South-western ports. Having received an invitation from the proprietors of the steamer, and being dispatched from the office as a Special, X took the 8.30 train on that morning and reached Port Adelaide at 9 a.m., the advertised time of starting, but I bad to " while a waiting hour away," as the Glenelg was delayed an hour in getting extra cargo aboard, including reaping and other machines for Point Turton and Port Victoria. At last the whistle sounded and we moved down the river, Captain Begg> commodore of the Company's fleet, being a passenger, but he bad to go ashore again at the Sema

!)boie, through having received intel

igence at the last moment of the

arrival of the incoming and outgoing European mails together at Glenelsr.

When we left the Semaphore a pretty stiff breeze was blowing from the west, but notwithstanding the head wind the Glenelg made capital running, and crossed the Gulf to Stansbury in four horns, reaching there by 2 p.m. The short voyage was accomplished without any noteworthy incident, except that the ladies were siclc, and I noticed that they received every attention from the captain and the steward, who found cushions for their heads and wrappers for their feet, and carried refreshments to them from the cabin as they reposed about the deck. These little attentions are not much in themselves, but they are very grateful to the victim who is suffering from mal-de-mer, and help to make a boat and its ofiicers popular in the course of



Being my first visit to this wateringplace 1 observed when I stepped off the steamer that as the shipping trade increases more space will be required about the jetty for landing and discharging goods. At present the accommodation for goods and vehicles is veiy limited, but I presume the cutting will be made larger by-andbye, and better facilities will be afforded for transacting the business of the port. Edithburgh shows signs of enlargement and progress. Several new buildings are

going up, including a two-story hotel for . Sir. Farr and additions ~ to Beaumont's Hotel. Along the road towards Yorketown a number of suburban allotments have been surveyed and sold). T was informed at high figures. On the beach the erection of public baths. is' being proceeded with, and I have no doubt that a prosperous future is in store for Editli

burgh if she is not outstripped by her ; younger rival, Stansbury. There are some very good crops inland from Edithburgh, but the limestone appears very near the surface, and salt lagoons are numerous. A good deal of land in the vicinity is still held by squatters, but should these blocks be offered for selection they will be rapidly taken up and put under wheat. While the steamer lay at Edithburgh discharging cargo (as she did not start for Point Turton till past midnight on Saturday) I accepted a seat in the buggy of Mr." Ebenezer Ward, M.P., and was conveyed to his selection at Para Wurlie. En route we passed through


This is the most thriving township in the southern portion of Yorke's Peninsula, and bids fair to become a place of importance. It is well situated about 10 miles from Edithburgh, in the midst of a good agricultural country. It can boast of over a hundred buildings, private and public, and a new Post and Telegraph Office is just near completion. It has a mill, a Bank a number of stores, two or three places of worship, a resident surgeon (Dr. Vonnida), and two excellent hostelries (Wicklein's and Rossiter's). The former serves as a Court-House, and one of its passages is a budding Chancery-lane, as members of the legal fraternity have chambers there. Half-a-dozen new rooms are to be added to this hotel shortly, to accommodate the increasing business.

When we arrived, being market-day, the place was very busy auction sales of cattle and implements had been held, and buyers and sellers were fraternising, ere they separated for their several homes. The crops in this district promise to yield an average of 12 or 16 bushels to the acre, but some early-sown crops on new land will turn out a great deal more. Rust has scarcely been seen here, and has done little or no damage. There have been some, fine, paddocks of hay; we were shown one of 160. acres, the owner of which-was offered £400 for the standing crop. He accepted the offer, and it is said that the buyer also made a good thing out of the transaction. Leaving Yorketown we drove past Sunbury—a village of two tenements—to Moorowie head station, where we remained the night and enjoyed the hospitalities of Mr. G. Phillips, J.P., but as we put in at Moorowie again on the return journey I shall have a few words to say in reference to that place lower down. Moderately early on Sunday morning we left the station and crossed the Moorowie Swamp, a barren waste, where tradition has it that two dozen bullocks were required to drag an empty dray out of the bog, and many other teams have come to worse grief. Though there is a crisp crust of thin salt and limestone at this season of the year, the swamp is exceedingly treacherous in the winter, and forms an almost impassable barrier to traffic. A sum of £1,900 is to be expended by the Government in making two miles of road across this swamp, and certainly no money could be better expended, as a very large tract of country beyond to the south-west is almost cut off from civilization by tliis dismal expanse of salt and scrub, which extends to the foot of the Peesey Ranges. To wind one's way up the latter, and see the rich soil and tine fields of wheat, the homesteads that peep out here and there in the landscape, and the evidences of prosperity that surround one on all sides, is like going from darkness to daylight, or from the depths of poverty to affluence, when the comparison is drawn between the Peesey Ranges and the Moorowie Swamp. From the top of the hill a fine view is obtained of Hardwicke Bay and the jetty at Point Turton. Here is located the Township of...


a distance of seven or eight miles. Here I received a repetition of the same treatment as before, and learned many interesting facts relative to that part of the country where Mr. Phillips has been settled for some 26 years. The station is the property of Mr. Wm. Fowler, of Yaroo, and comprises 16,000 acres. The soil is light, with limestone near the surface and blue clay beneath. The station is well watered with never-failing springs, and watering places for the cattle are made by simply sinking two or three feet, and constructing a dam. Excellent Merino sheep and some Lincoln crossbreds are reared here, and the station bears the evidence of being well managed. Mr. Phillips appears to have completely solved the problem of how to get rid of the rabbit pest. He paid £9-per block for four square miles, on which the rabbits were exterminated in one month by the contractor, with two extrahands and some dogs. His modus operandi was to dig down a funnel-shaped hole into the burrows, and cut the leads. The rabbits were smothered in the light soil, and very few got out alive. Those that escaped from the holes were caught by the dogs, and now there is not a rabbit to be seen on the four square miles of country, while they are numerous enough on the adjoining blocks. Mr. Phillips estimates that he can get the whole run cleared of the pest at a cost of £1 5s. per hundred acres, and if so this information will be valuable to other station-holders. Our last place of inspection on the Peninsula was PORT MOOROWIE.


Warooka, a small collection of buildings of a substantial character, including two chapels (Wesleyan and Roman Catholic), two or three stores, and a new hotel. There is to be a celebration at the opening of the latter about a fortnight hence, when Mr. Ward, M.P., is to be entertained at a public dinner. One of the wants of Warooka is a State School, as there are numerous families in the neighborhood, and there is no school nearer than Yorketown. Warooka has recently been declared a polling-place by the present Chief Secretary at the instance of Mr. Ward. The necessity for such a convenience can only he understood when it is stated that out of the whole population there only one vote was registered at the late election for the Legislative Council, because the electors had to cross the swamp to record their votes at Yorketown, and that vote was given for Mr. Morgan. There is no township beyond Warooka to the westward, nor to the south, but settlement is gradually spreading in both directions. Passing through Mr. J. Hannay's Orie Cowie Station, where the character of the country changes, fresh water lagoons take the place of salt ones, and the teatree and sheaoak become thicker, and the landscape more parklike and pleasing, we began the ascent of


Owing to a score or two of pounds having been judiciously spent by Government in clearing the bush roads in this neighborhood we were able, by the aid of a pair of stout horses, to travel up Mount Gore with greater ease than we otherwise could have done; but had to make a detour through some fine grazing land of Mr. Mannay's until we reached the cleared track. The clearing, I understand, is done for £10 per mile; and certainly a few score pounds expended in this way greatly facilitates travelling, and goes a long way towards opening up the new districts. Another change in the aspect of the country about Para Wurlie is caused by a great abundance of black grass, which the settler burns off and then ploughs up ere he puts in his grain, and by so doing manures his land. There is a marked the crops sown upon land treated in this way, and where the grass and scrub have not been burned. In one paddock just a little out of Warooka we was patches where the waving grain grew so thick and stalwart that its yield could not be less than 25 or 30 bushels to the acre, while close alongside were patches that would not yield 10 bushels, the increase being solely due to the fact that dead timber, glass, and undergrowth had been burnt on the ground where the grain grew thickest. Travelling up Mount Gore (which name, by the way, has fallen into desuetude, the hundred being called by the native name of Para Wurlie—hill of the camp or sleeping-place)—we suddenly lost sight of the rough crush fence that marked the boundaries of squatter and selector, and came upon a new six-wire fence on our right. This was the beginning of Mr. Ebenezer Ward's selection of 640 acres, contiguous to which are the selections of Mr. H. R. Fuller, Miss Fuller, Mr. W. Johnson, and Miss Johnson—making in all about 3,500 acres upon which improvements are rapidly being carried out. These selections form the Para Wurlie estate, over which Mr. Ward exercises close supervision and takes the part of manager. For a distance of nearly seven miles he has already erected the sheep-proof sixwire fence which will shortly enclose and subdivide the whole estate. This fence costs £46 per mile, the posts being of teatree. Camps have been placed on three of the sections, and contracts are let for the erection of camps on the other two sections. Wells have been sunk, a great deal of clearing has been done, and at the fag end of last season a hundred acres were sown with wheat. This operation has not proved a success— the ground was not properly ploughed and prepared, and the seed having been put in a month too late it is not at all surprising that the crop is hardly worth the cutting. However, Mr. Ward is not the only one on the Peninsula who fell into the error of sowing too late, and I found that in every instance where this was done the crop was thin and unremunerative. It appears as though wheat cannot be put in too early in the south part of the Peninsula; as one gentlemen remarked to me, it should be put into the, "dust" two months before the rains set in. It is certain that all the early-sown crops are yielding double or treble the quantity of the late-sown ones.

A great deal of black-grass abounds on ; Para Wurlie, but there is feed, for sheep at the foot of and between the tussocks, and Mr, Ward has one thousand sheep running with another thousand on their way to the farm. He has a number of dairy, cattle, horses, pigs, poultry, and kangaroo. The latter, are more numerous than desirable, and more free than welcome. They make frequent raids upon the wheat crop; and stand in mobs impudently staring at the men, who attempt to scare them away, but will heat a very quick and speedy retreat when the dogs are set upon them. Many of them are potted with the gun, and when boiled down furnish a dainty dish for the pigs, who are connoisseurs in the matter of kangaroo-tail soup. From the top of Para Wurlie, which is the highest point on the Peninsula—325 feet above sea level—a magnificent view is obtained not only of the surrounding country but of Spencer's and St. Vincent's Gulfs and the waters of Investigator's Straits. On clear days the coast line on the opposite side of the Gulf is seen, and the intervening forest of sheaoak and teatree form a dark foreground, against which the silver sheen of the ocean beyond and the varying tints of the sky above ore brilliant objects of beauty. On a gentle slope, just beneath the crown of the hill, a spot has been chosen by Mr. Ward for the erection of a substantial dwelling-house, and men are engaged in carting stone for the masons to commence the building. This stone is procured from a quarry on one of the sections, and can be cut into good square blocks for building purposes. The soil of Para Wurlie is deeper and darker than that of the level ground below, and apparently of similar quality to the Peesey Ranges; but its capabilities of cultivation have yet to be proved. One thing is certain, that a large sum is being expended upon Para Wurlie in improvements, and taking into consideration its delightful position, with the magnificent climate of that portion of the Peninsula, every pound expended upon it should meet with a substantial return when the land has been fenced, cleared, and cropped, or sown with the best grasses for sheep. To the north and on the east of Para Wurlie settlers have taken up blocks and are making improvements, but westerly and southerly the country remains in its primitive condition, and wild cattle and horses run in mobs in the mallee on the southern coast. There is some talk of a grand battue being made shortly amongst the wild cattle, and that Government will issue licences for the purpose. Some offenders against the law have been fined for shooting these cattle without a licence. Having camped at Para Wurlie on Sunday night we drove on Monday morning to Point Turton.


Here the steamer Glenelg lay alongside the new jetty with, her bunting flying, and as I described in my report in Thursday's Advertiser, there was a " spread" on board, and some 200 of the inhabitants of the neighborhood were entertained fly Captain Bartlett. This jetty is 200 feet in length, with a width of' 9 feet for 150 feet, and of 12 feet for the other 50 feet in length. At the end there are 12 feet of water at low tide, and the steamer lay alongside very comfortably, 'the Point is well sheltered from evey wind by a northerly or northwesterly one, and is in this respect the best harbor on the west coast. About 1 o'clock We started for the next port, nine miles distant, and in an hour reached Minlacowie.


The jetty at this place is more than 1,200 feet long, 9 feet in width, and gives 15 feet of water at the end during low tide. There was no demonstration at this place when the steamer got alongside, because her arrival was scarcely expected on that day. Mr. Anderson and his wife were there and went on board. Commander Howard and Lieut. Goalen, who were surveying there (while the Government schooner Beatrice lay at anchor), also joined Capt. Bartlett on board, but their stay was of very short duration. A township has been surveyed at Minlacowie, but as at Point Turton no buildings have yet been erected. Minlaton, 10 miles distant, is the nearest township to the Minlacowie jetty, and the intervening country is heavily cropped with wheat, but rust has been playing havoc amongst many paddocks. It is estimated that wheat from 80 square miles of country will be shipped at Minlacowie, and one agent there got rid of 5,000 bags to the farmers in one week recently. The farmers are waiting the arrival of reaping-machines from Adelaide before they can commence harvesting. Steaming away from Minlacowie at 4 o'clock the Glenelg in a couple of hours reached Port Victoria.


Saturday 8 December 1877, Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922) Trove

Owing to the heavy swell raised by the south westerly wind the steamer was unable to go alongside the jetty here, especially as the only available berth was occupied by the contractor's ketch, the Duchess of Kent, so she anchored in the bay, which is well sheltered on all sides but the south, Wauraltee Island being on the west, and Point Pearce running out to within a short distance of the island. The jetty at Port Victoria is not yet completed. It is to be 1,000 feet in length, and is estimated to be ready for opening by the new year. There are 890 feet completed, so as to render it fit for use, but owing to projecting planks the steamer could not go alongside except in one spot. Mr. Wishart is the contractor for the work. The township of Port Victoria consists of 14 or 15 buildings, including three or four stores, the Wauraltee Hotel, well-built and commodious, and a Wesleyan Chapel, which Mr. Harrington, recently of North Adelaide, is erecting. A great deal of land has been taken up in this district, and the crops are said to be very good, so that the shipment of wheat is expected to be very large. Last year the crops were had here, but they were late sown, and this error has been avoided this season. The residents complain that the trucks on the jetty are too narrow and totally unfit for shipping wheat, and the same complaint was made at Minlacowie and Point Turton. The farmers in the neighborhood of Port Victoria cast longing eyes on Point Pearce and Wauraltee Island (the aboriginal Mission station), and say that the land is wasted in being devoted to the support of a few halfcastes and aboriginals, for whom a better living could be found elsewhere. No doubt if it were thrown open for selection it would very quickly be taken up land put under crop. There is no fresh water at Port Victoria, and what is used in the township has to be carted seven miles, so they are anxiously awaiting the construction of a tank promised by the Government. They also hope to obtain telegraph extension, another mail, and a school, and wish the approaches to the jetty to be made as early as possible. On Tuesday morning we left Port V ictoria, being carried out to the steamer's boat on the friendly shoulders of one of the residents. A stiff southerly breeze was blowing, and when we arrived again at Minlacowie the Captain would not take the steamer along side the jetty, as there was no cargo, and I was sent ashore in the boat. The sea was beating heavily against the jetty, and the sailors got drenched in getting away. Mr. Phillips having kindly sent a man with horses to meet me, and Mr. Anderson having given me items of information which I must take another opportunity of putting into print, I rode across to MOOROWIE STATION.


Saturday 8 December 1877, Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922) Trove

Proceeding by the south coast eastward for about twenty miles Tucockcowie in passed through a small station formerly owned by Mr. W. Gilbert, of Pewsey Vale, but now in the hands of Messrs. C. & J. Day, and Port Moorowie is reached. There is not much farming along the line of road. At Port Moorowie, and from there to Mount Melville, most of the ground is taken up, but the area of good land is extremely limited. The population is small, the farms are poor, and the paddocks are nearly all very dirty. Not more than five or six bushels will be reaped through most of the district, although three or four paddocks looked as if they would yield about eight bushels. There is a good jetty at Port Moorowie, which is used only for shipping wool and wheat. The village of Mount Melville has decayed considerably, and the little public school which was formerly conducted there has been closed.


South-east of the station some 12 miles by the road. A private township has been surveyed here, and a good deal of land which belonged to Mr. Fowler has been sold. The Government are now surveying a township, Mr. Herbert and party being engaged in the work. It is anticipated that not less than 100,000 bushels of wheat, besides wool, will be shipped from Port Moorowie there season, and a jetty is badly needed this. It is situated in the bend of a wide bay, the eastern point of which is Troubridge Hill, and the west Point Gilbert, a rocky bluff about a mile from the township. Tha port is protected by a reef running out from the end of Point Gilbert and bending round in the form of a half-circle through which there are two openings buoyed off, with a depth of 9 feet at low-water. The basin inside, in which a number of vessels could ride in safety, has an average depth of 2 to 3 fathoms, with good holding ground in a clay bottom. The land around is of average quality, and so are the crops where early sown, but the late-sown ones are very light. On Wednesday morning we left Moorowie for Yorketown, thence to Edithburgh, and found the Glenelg at the jetty, where she arrived after having a rough night round Cape Spencer. Leaving Edithburgh at 11.45, she reached Port Adelaide about 4 p.m.