SOUTHERN YORKE'S PENINSULA,
My recollections of " a visu to Edithburgli many years back snowed •me, when 1 stepped off tlie I steamer Warn wee at that port | recently, what a great change had taken I place in the interval, irorn a litile ! straggling milage it has risen ro the digniiy ' of a bustling and much-aiive town
ship; ' and the reason—sail! There is a large saltmill near the jetty, and others are further back. Many peupJe were going in and out of the shops and houses, traps and horses were much in evidence, and the whirr of the motor car and clap-clap of the motor bike were heard continually — for we had. reached "Motor Laud." Salt lakes, superphosphates, and good seasons have made Yorke's Pen:nsula rich, and the once poor and struggling farmer now builds himself a lianUsoLue residence and buys a luxurious autocar. In the township are good shops, comfortable private houses, a pretty Anglican church, a commodious Methodist building in. course of erection.. n large institute, and a nice schoolhouse. We walked to the cemetery about half a mile away, and saw the graves of the 32 lascars and the three English officers who were drowned at the wreck of the Clan Ranald. The next morning, we clambered into the funny little . Noah's Ark. to which was attached a white pony. There was no room inside for our luggage, so it had to be lashed on behind. Our pony turned out surefooted and quiet as a Iamb, and before the end of the trip we each had wild thoughts of offering a high price for her possession, and only the remembrance of lean bank balances restrained us. We even conceived an affection for our Noah's Ark. because it was associated with an exceptionally happy holiday.
—The Salt Lakes.—
All day we drove about the Hundred of Melville, looking in at many of the farms, stopping to chat with wayfarers, and gazing ■-wonderingly at the glistening salt lakes (about 30 of which lie between Edithburgh and Port Victoria). They are a most extraordinary feature of the country. No one understands how the salt is formed, only that after it has been scraped off and taken away it grows again, especially after rain. In the old days- these lakea were looked on as a great nuisance and so much waste land. We were told of a farmer, who, possessing one of the largest, at last induced the Government to take it over. He now mourns the loss of a huge fortune. It is about 14 years since the first salt com nan y was formed, and there are now two others. One of the three—theCa tie Company—sends away annually from Edithburgh 70,000 tons, and makes 70 tons of fine table salt daily. As far as we could bear the southern end of Yorke's Peninsula and one place in Kangaroo Island are the only saltproducing districts in Australia, and all the Commonwealth and New Zealand draw supplies from them. Salt has practically made Edithburgh and a'so Yorketown (12 miles distant). The lakes dry up in the summer, and then is the principal time for carting. During our visit they formed a beautiful feature of the landscape, and were frequented by flocks of gulls, while large numbers of plovers were seen near by.
—A Treeless Country.—
We saw some nice crops, but most were short and backward, apparently stunted. ■There was Rood feed everywhere, and horses, cattle, and sheep revelled in it. Very noticeable' was the splendid stamp of horses, especially the draught stock. A large proportion of the fences consisted cf brushwood, and the , absence of trees showed how recklessly tbey had been cut down' in the past. Occasionally there were a few teatree and sheaoak, evidently the only ones indigenous to the soil, and probably the only sort that would grow where limestone and salt are so near the surface; but it is a pity efforts na*e not made to conserve what.are left.and plant more. A treeless country like this niust sooner or later suffer, not only in its rainfall, but through having no break against the wild winds that sweep from gulf to gulf. Fruit trees and vines do well for some years until the roots get down to the salt. The obvious remedy would seem to be to replant every few years, and so always have fresh ones coming on to take the place of those that have to be uprooted. .
—Gypsum.— We came on what looked like a big white quarry, and found it was a gypsum mine. About 20 men are constantly' employed. The material is a form of lime, and is largely used as a fertilizer,. It is also employed by cement companies in their manufactures and for a variety of other purposes. Many thousands of "tons are exported to New Zealand. annually.
Apparently the mine is practically inex- . haustible.
Towards sunset we found ourselves enter- ' .ing 'Yorkelown. A 'flying visit mow than a quarter of a century ago left me with
.the-.jhnpression of ,a hot and- dusty lntle. Village, with primitive houses and .geuer
ally uninviting aspect. But salt lias altered all that, ana a very pretty .town, laid out with wide streets, large buildings, flower gardens, .trees, and hedges, met my, astonished eyes. The new Roman Catholic Church with its stained raemorial windows shows up well. As it was dark before
finished tea, and we started away, early next morning, there was not much time to look round, but everything we saw gave evidence of great prosperity.
"Christian Love Among the Churches."—
Yorketown is remarkable, so we heard, for the kindly feeling among the heads of the various religious denominations. Roman Catholic priest, Anglican clergyman. and Methodist minister, instead of each pointing out the defects, in the other's "doxy" and practice, only try to outvie each other in good works, and leave the public to judge foe. itself as to which is most worthy. Some time ago the Methodists founded a literary society, which! flourished, and to which people of all denominations belonged, except the Roman Catholics, who were debarred from joining because the rules of their church 'forbade their meeting in a Protestant place of worship. The Methodists then arranged for the society's name to be changed, and that in future it be called the Yorketown Literary Society, and the meetings were thenceforth held in the institute. Thus Catholics and Protestants were able to meet on a common platform, and when the Methodist minister (Rev. J. C. Hughes) left the district a social was given in his honour, at which the Roman Catholic priest took the chair.
—No Watercourses or Bridges.—
When we reached the Hundred of Dalryrnple, about nine miles out from Yorketown, the character of the land changed* and Cure were abundant malke and blackgrass on tne roausiaes. ah tne mgirways over which we travelled were three chains wide. The road between Yorkelown and ilinlaton is a long, rather straight one, bordered by trees and scrub, and luxuriantly grassed. All through Yorke's Peninsula. .except where there is saltcarting, the roads are remarkably good, and form delightful motor tracks, for most of the eounc try is level, and limestone does not cuh the tires like the harder stone on this si'da, It struck us as peculiar there were n# watercourses and no bridges anywhere oa. the peninsula. An old pioneer told us hi had been a boundary rider in this part 40 years ago, and that then there were thou1 sands of kangaroos and hundreds of blacked When lie came out of his hut in the morning and whistled, lie said, he could hot tell of which there were more, kangaroos on sheep. The heads of both popped up everywhere. Once his wife was left alone for a week with her three months' oil baby, and the blacks were camped all round the hut. At another time lie had just reached home when lumbago seized him, rendering it impossible for him to move, much less get on his horse, so lii.s wife set out 011 a 10-mile walk to the head station, carrying her baby and accompanied by the dog as a guard. I5ut she had to pass near herds of wild eat* tie, and the tltgV brrbing made tliem follow oil h. r hoe's, till, terrified and nearly worn out, she wished she had left liim at home. By the time she reached her journey's end she was pretty well exhausted; but her tale was told, and some one was sent to water the sheen, while the manager drove her home. She told how, when left alone, she used to peer through her little window and watch the mobs of kangaroos hopping and skipping around, and scores of times sayf fights between old-man kangaroos, queerly "hitting at each, other with their black hands."
SOUTHERN YORRE'S 'peninsula.
On Friday, towards nightfall, after a long day among the farms, we made for Minlaton, another thriving, well-laid-out township, with many new buildings and others in course of erection. Shops, banks, churches, institute, and school all bore the Yorke's- Peninsula stamp of prosperity. All next day there was a steady Tain, and we remained weatherbound, but in good quarters. Being Saturday, numbers of farmers nnd others visited the township; but no one was seen the worse .for liquor. The Mmlaton Hotel—the only one in the township—is well conducted, and the gentleman of perpetual thirst for alcohol has no chance of gratifying it here during prohibited hours, for- he can neither cajole nor intimidate the landlord, who strictly carries out the Licensing Act. On Sunday morning we went on to Port Victoria. For six miles the three-chain road led through charming parklike country, beautifully wooded and grassed, Newly shorn, sheep showed snowy-white among the freshgreen, where dewdrops glittered from every leaf, and trembled on every emerald spear. Peppermint and mallee trees bordered the road, and wildflowers • sprinkled the wayside. The ubiquitous magpie warbled, flocks of parrots flashed by like living gems, and the cheerful little wagtail was seen in the fields. We passed a fine vineyard and a healthy looking row of bluegums, and the crops looked remarkably well. About Mount Eat the country looked comparatively bare. As no mount was visible, we enquired its whereabouts, and were told there was a low hill of the name a few miles to the east. Going on teatree and scrub indicated salty soil, and we passed a salt lagoon; but there was still good feed by the roadside when we halted for luncheon. Around where we sat thousands vof tiny daisies turned their little faces to the sky, an<^ there were great patches of dark-blue flax and a tiny pale-blue variety. 'Yellow blossoms of various sorts mingled with the twining pink convolvulus, ana a dwarf heath with deep-blue flowers.
Soon after we reached Port Victoria, and beheld the waters of Spencer's Gulf shining in the sunlight. The bell of the Methodist meeting house summoned the people to prayer in the afternoon, there seldom! being morning or evening service. Afterwards we strolled to the little jetty, where much wheat, wool, and salt is sent away. The little village looked bright and peaceful,-,and the sea lovely. It is a pity this port, sheltered by three long islands, which protect it from wind and storm, is not nearer Adelaide. A lighthouse is in course of erection, and not before it is needed; for the remains of several old wrecks are to be seen outside. Ocean-going vessels lie about two miles off, and there is no difficulty in sending cargo aboard. The people are fortunate in having a specially excellent schoolmaster. It was he who conducted the afternoon service, and we heard much of his kindness to both old and young, and the interest he took in all that concerned the wellbeing of the community. The hotel was clean and comfortable and, though the present occupants have only been in possession four months, they have formed a charming miniature garden in a courtyard, and potplants flourish in a sheltered verandah. The sea breeze blowing in at the window gave deep and refreshing sleep. We ate amazing breakfasts.
—An Independent Veteran —
Our mare had rolled in the mud after being groomed, and we found the ostler regarding her ruefully. "The only thing to be done," we said, "is to wash her.
"Sure, and that is what I used to do when I was with Lord Roberts at Kandahar," answered the man. It appeared he had served 12 years in the Indian Army, and was actually one of those engaged in the memorable "march, and we learned that in three years he would be entitled to a pension of 2/6 per day. "You might get the old-age pension, too," we remarked tentatively. "Sure; and I don't want their auld-age pension; 17/6 a week will do me. I want nothing but what I can arn with me own hands; they can keep their auldage pension. I won't have it." It was refreshing to come across such a spirit of independence, and we looked with respect at the gallant veteran.
We struck across country towards Point Pearce Mission Station, turning as we reached rising ground for a last look at Spencer's Gulf, and imagining that we could see in the line that bounded the horizon the coast of Eyre's Peninsula. All the way along were good crops, comfortable houses, and substantial outbuildings evidences of successful farming. Turning -Sn at the gate to the reserve we realized that we were on some ol the best land in ! th Hundred of Kilkerran. Parklike .for ' a mile or two, large inallee and bush, then luxuriant grass paddocks stretch: to the coast. During on we came to a magnificent crop of 500 acres of wheat well in ear, deep green, .and level, and likely to go 20 to 25 bushels. -Later we learned there were 3,000 acres under crop—800-put in by the natives, and the rest on half-profit by three adjoining farmers. The natives will not work with the same vim and persistence as their white brothers, and putting in and taking off crops cannot be done under the eight-hours system, hence the combination was necessary. Presently we came on a camp in the scrub away from the village, where live a few o"f the old people, who do pot relish new-fangled ways of shutting one's self up in streets and houses, and are allowed to remain in the open. In the village itself the cottages differ as much as those of the white man. Some have porches and gardens, clean curtains shading the windows, and pot plants showing between them; and curly headed big-eyed children—many almost white—neatly clad, peeping shyly from behind fences and doors; other cottages were—well—different. The manager's residence is of- 12 rooms with a verandah all round. We were hospitably received by the manager and matron. The former—a bachelor—has been in charge of the mission for 59 years, but is about to leave to take a well-earned rest. There are more than 150 natives on the station, only 50 of them black, the rest half-caste. The latter are increasing, for they marry young, and have families of' six or eight children. A matter of interest for those who prophecv gloomy things, regarding white "race suicide'' is that none of the marriages is childless. There is certainly quantity, but not such assurance regarding quality, and while in the end there must be a fusion of races, the interval may bring unpleasant conditions. Besides the manager and matron, there were a white overseer, a school mistress, and maid, and a young man doing-wool classing.
The mission possesses 8,300 sheep (nearly.half of which are on one of the Port Victoria large islands, which forms part of the reserve), but there was no clip, and there had been no attempt to carry out the Government regulations in reference to dinning, though tick is found on the island. The children on the mission station, show an aptitude for anything which requires manual dexterity, such as writing, drawing, and painting, and they sing well, but are not good at arithmetic or composition.
The road to Maitland led through grand farming country, where the crops were magnificent. Mile upon mile, bordered by an immense area of wh,eat and oats, occasionally barley and rye. In deep pastures horses and cattle stood above their knees in luxuriant grass. Through the whole Peninsula the stock is rolling fat, but here there seemed even an added sleekness and an accentuated air of conte'ntd webbing, the splendid draught horses particularly forming a perfect picture. The farm residences of modern type arc mansions compared with those of even a very few years ago. One of our party said he had never seen outbuildings of such a size and such solid masonry, or such paving and lighting. He heard that some were lighted by electricity. And the farm implements! Oil engines, _ stumpjumpers, 15-sliare ploughs, seeddrills, reapers, and binders, harvesters, and disc ploughs—all sorts, and up to date, were changing the old time drudgery to _ the latest scientific methods. The revolution in _ farming i6 wonderful.
All along we noticed large numbers of j German farmers, especially in the Hundred of Melville, and now again at Maitland. Taking an average, we found they formed I at least 30 per cent, of the farming population.
SOUTHERN YORKE'S PENINSULA.
Ever since leaving the Hundred of Melville we had been in country which at one time was covered with malice scrub, but now the mallee bordering the road was particularly large and fine. There ' is a gradual ascent from Minlaton to Maitland —the latter being the highest point in the peninsula, about 400 ft. above sea level. Two miles out, on the crest of a hill there is a view of both gulfs—Spencer's Gulf to the west and St. Vincent's Gulf to the east. Maitland, we thought, the' finest township we had seen, and it is situated in country the pick of. the peninsula. All through were evidences of tremendous prosperity, but here they reached high water mark. The streets of Maitland,. like those of Yorketown and Minlaton, were wide and particularly clean. Churches, banks, shops, school, and private residences Were substantially-built. Like Yorketown and Edithburgh, it had municipal government, and its fresh, clean appearance did it credit. In nice flower gardens the queen of blossoms flourished among many distinguished subjects. Motors flew hack and forth At the annual show 35 motors were on the ground. In what other part of South Australia, except Adelaide, could such a number be counted? We heard that one family alone, in its several branches, owned six cars, representing a value of £3,000. At the Maitland Hotel we found excellent accommodation.
Wednesday was spent in getting to Ardrossan, 14 miles from Maitland. About three miles out the land became more stony, and the mallee smaller. Farms were wider apart, but there were still good crops, though fewer sheep. Half-way a good deal or undeveloped country was still covered with mallee, and in places black grass also gave signs of good farming land. Here and there was a little clearing, with a tiny, cottage, a wagon, and team of fat horses, and young man and his wife and a child or two—tlie beginning of a farm, perhaps, to end in a mansion and a motor! The high road wa6 excellent, and in the course of an hour we met, besides many horsemen and vehicles, four motor cars and two motor bikes. Towards evening we leached the seaside town of Ardrossan, and sat down at the hospitable board of the Ardrossan Hotel. At each hotel in the peninsula we noticed a large number of visitors, and this was no exception. Some of them had come by steamer from Adelaide merely for the trip. A look around Ardrossan after breakfast showed the usual thriving peninsula appearance. Shops and hanks were in full swing, and new buildings were being erected. Motor cars and hikes flew along, and a steamer and boats were at the jetty. Our road led along the coast. We had a beautiful view of the sea, and a ketch in full sail kept parallel With us. There were good crops, a few sheep, and rich, pastures. About six miles out the road turned into mallee country, of which a great deal has been rolled, but much is still unprepared for the plough. We passed several immense loads of fine roofs, which were being carted to Pine Point. Many large dams had been constructed, for the spring water is brackish. Some were open cjay reservoirs, others of solid masonry with covers. At midday we gave the mare a drink from a dam, and let her loose among some self-sown wheat by the roadside. Then we lounged on the grass for lunch, and perused our copies of The Register. Along this road—-a district one with little traffic—the crops were not even fenced, except in one case, where a single barbed wire was held in position by posts about three chains apart. It would be a dangerous object for a horseman to come in contact with in the dark, and should not be allowed.
Tlfe sunset lights were casting their streamers between the trees over the gently swaying corn and barley and the thick herbage and wildflowers of the threechain road as we approached Curramulka. This was only a little village, lying on a plain bordered by low hills, the road apparently leading to nowhere in particular. We wondered what kept it going. It was the ubiquitous farmer, who, with his wife and children, goes in to church and market, seeking the social life which we all desire. Hitherto every hotel at which we put up had been most comfortable, hut one could scarcely expect the same in this apparently out-of-the-way place. Rut travellers are remarkably well catered for in Curramulka, and as we were shown to our spotless bedroom we found, to our surprise, that cold and hot baths also were obtainable.
On the road again, we passed some good crops, but for six miles out whole acres of wheat were red with wild poppy, which the farmers say has become a terrible nuisance. They do not know how to cope -with it. There were fine sheep here, and new sheep dips were in course of construction. Further on there is not much land under the plough, and not many sheep. The high road is excellent, and at midday we trotted into Port Vincent, a pretty little place with a nice beach, to which high cliffs slope on one side. The sea was a lovely soft pale blue, with wavelets plashing on the sands. _ There were a good wharf, newlooking buildings, two churches, a school house, a first-class hotel, a public hall, and two bank agencies. Oil the surrounding hills were nice Residences built by retired farmers and business men. —
; —-Stansbury.— ' '
Hearing; Stansbury. we again came on good crops and saw fine crossbred sheep.' About two miles from the "port was an extensive olive plantation, put in years ago by Mr. Wurm, and from which some of the very best olive oil is produced. Beautiful glimpses of the sea aud of the greenclad cliffs from between the olive groves reminded us of descriptions of Italjan scenery. In consequence of there being so much limestone^ fruit. trees have not thriven, but vines do well, and Mr. Wurm's raisins, which brought 13d. per ft. at the Jubilee Exhibition, still command high n" ies. -Aboutr"five miles back Mr. Pitt a large fruit garden, and last year sent away a ton of dried apricots, besides a large output of raisins and currants, after having supplied the district with fresh fruit. Stansbury bad much increased of late years. A new jetty had been built and two nice churches, and it possessed a new school, splendidly lighted and appointed. It only takes 3J hours' steaming to cover the distance between Port Adelaide and Stansbury, wliich might be q»ade a most attractive resort for summer tourists. The road from Stansbury to Edithburgh was beautiful, the blue sea on the left all the way:and the salt breath of the gulf saluting the nostrils. There was a succession of crops and pastures, horses knee deep in feed, young foals Bkippintf around their dams, sheep nibbling sedately, while the lambs played pranks with each other and took maternal refreshment between whiles: beautiful mild-eyed cows chewing the cud and dreamily watching the pasers-by.
We came on Wool Bay, where there were big limekilns. Some of the best lime in Australia is made there, and 2,000 bushels : is sent away weekly. In the afternoon we reached Salt Creek. There was an extremely low tide, and women and children were out gathering cockles and periwinkles.
Several boats had been left high and dry i on the sounds, and a ketch in shallow water was being loaded with woolbales. A great wagon, drawn by six horses, was driven alongside the water up to the horses bellies, and the bales were hoisted on board. More crops of wheat and barley in full ear were splendid. We were again in the Hundred of Melville, but nine days had made a great difference in the growth. Nearing Edithburgh we met a motorload of gay young people, singing merrily, then more motors, and we were told that there had been a parade and picnic j got up by Messrs. Duncan & Eraser, in which about 40 cars took part. We had had a glorious trip, one to look back upon in future years, with warmth at the heart, a sigh for the happy past, and a hope for such another experience.
—A Fine Place.—
Yorke's Peninsula has become a wonderful place, with unbounded belief in itself and confidence in its future. More than 2,000 of its people visited the Adelaide Show in September. That is one indication of its prosperity. Of course, this season has been exceptionally good. We saw many crops that will probably give 20 to 25 bushels to the acre if they have not been seriously damaged by the recent wind and rain, and the average .yield promises well. The lamb and egg exports bring in splendid returns. In the 12 hundreds visited by us there are about 330 owners of sheep, and their combined flocks numbered 140.000.' A rich, go-ahead, delightful place is the "motor country."