THE SOUTHERN END OF YORKE'S PENINSULA. A WONDERLAND FOR THE GEOLOGIST, THE CHRONOLOGIST, THE AGRICULTURALIST, AND THE PASTORALIST WITH SPECIAL MENTION OF YORKETOWN AND EDITHBURGH.
By a Special Representative of The Register.
If our readers will glance for a moment at a map of South Australia they will note what peculiar geographical features Yorke's Peninsula possesses. Surrounded on three sides by the sea, with an outline similar to that of Italy, Yorke's Peninsula to a certain extent resembles the shape of a "Russian" boot. Its long coastline, broken into innumerable little bays, with 18 jetties or more, offers splendid facilities for the shipment of its products. On its eastern and western sides are St. Vincent's and Spencer's Gulfs respectively, while in a southern direction between its foot and Kangaroo Island is Investigator Strait. Capt. Matthew Flinders, the renowned Australian explorer and navigator, sailed along its coastline, and in March, 1802, named Yorke's Peninsula in honour of the Right. Hon. Charles Phillip Yorke; a well-known Englishman, who accompanied Flinders Flinders on one of his voyages in the Investigator. Yorketown derives its name from the same origin. Many other localities close to Yorke's Peninsula were named by Flinders after other prominent men of his time and company. Originally the peninsula was a happy hunting ground for aboriginals, and now many of the towns bear names derived from the natives. A few of these which may be cited are Coo-bowie, Minlacowie, Port Moorowie, Booblacowie, Orrie Cowie, and Moldarby; the termination of "owie" denoting fresh water, in the native language. The County of Fergusson was named after the late Sir James Fergusson; formerly a South Australian Governor: Edithburgh after his wife's name, and Kilkerran after his Ayrshire estate in Scotland.
A Barley, Wheat, and Wool Producing District.
The majority of the farming land in the vicinity of Yorketown is best adapted for barley and wheat growing. In most in-stances a first-class sample of barley is produced, which is keenly sought by maltsters. The district is well suited for the growing of export lambs. Messrs. Goldsbrough, Mort, & Co., Limited, last year shipped from Edithburgh alone over 4,000 fat lambs on account of Messrs. Angliss & Co., of Melbourne. The present lamb season promises to be even better as the district generally is in good heart. More farmers are specializing in cross-bred lambs also. A fine type of sheep is bred in this district, and a good class of wool is grown, although the highest prices are not realized on account of the clover burr, and condition in the wool produced by rich feed. Messrs. Goldsbrough, Mort, and Co., Limited, opened a branch office at Yorketown in March 1925, and report very favourable business of a sound financial nature. During the past 12 months the company has been responsible for the sale of 15 properties in the district, at gradually increasing values, ranging from £5 to £16 10/ per acre, according to the quality of the land and improvements. Numerous sales of sheep, cattle, and horses have also been effected, and markets are held periodically by the company at Warooka and Yorketown. The lower end of Southern Yorke's Peninsula varies from good barley-growing land to grazing country of several classes. Some 500 square miles of this part is virgin country consisting of Crown leasehold, ranging in value from 10/ to £2 per acre, and in some cases higher. It is used principally for grazing purposes. Cattle and horses both do well in this country, but sheep suffer from coast disease in certain parts if left there for any lengthy period. A change to cultivated areas further north soon rectifies this disorder; in fact, it may be prevented altogether if a change of pasture is given for a few weeks several times a year. In the opinion of one of the leading stock-men of the district, the advent of cultivation and the use of superphosphate in these parts would totally overcome this, and sheep could be carried throughout the year with better advantage to the grazier. He considers also that a number of the holdings are far too large for cultivation purposes, and that if they were smaller could be worked to better advantage. Much of this country, if properly cultivated, would produce barley crops equal to those at present grown on land which in better situated areas has a selling value of from eight to ten times greater. The progress of some of this inland country known as the "Bottom end" has been very materially delayed by its inaccessibility, due to bad roads and scattered ports, and it is strongly felt in many quarters that better facilities should be provided. The country has a good rainfall, and should have a big future before it.
Yorketown has two local auctioneers, Messrs. H. Dalling and N. H. Eichner, both, of whom report good business during the past year. Mr. Dalling during this period handled 21 clearing sales, besides stock market and private sales. He also sold, a large number of properties on the peninsula, the turnover in land sales alone being approximately £80,000. The turnover in private stock and sheep sales totalled £25,000. During the past 12 months Mr. Eichner has been responsible for the disposal of 10 farming properties — valued at £40,000— both on Yorke's and Eyre's' Peninsulas. He states that a number of Yorke Peninsula farmers will shortly be leaving the district for the west coast where properties are much cheaper than in their own locality. Since last Christmas he has sold three large properties in the Kimba district, and hopes very shortly to be doing further business there.
The Southern Yorke's Peninsula Agricultural, Horticultural, and Floricultural Society began its fine career at Yorketown in 1876 so that this year will be its jubilee year. The show meeting is claimed to, be one of the best on Yorke's Peninsula, and the society shows every sign of vigorous prosperity.
The President of the society is Mr. A. P. Piggott, with Mr. N. H. Eichner as secretary. Practically the only fruit gardens on the peninsula are close to Stansbury. These supply fruit to surrounding towns in limited quantities. In the Warooka district splendid vegetables are grown. Yorketown is noted for its beautiful flower gardens.
A Paradise for Geologists.
The climate of Yorke's Peninsula is a pleasant one, and is found specially agreeable by tourists. Surrounded as it is by the sea on three sides, with no hills to intercept wind, the peninsula is subject to heavy gales in winter, whilst in summer it is fanned by cool breezes. The physical features of the southern portion of the peninsula, are very singular, and are of considerable interest. It is a paradise for geologists, because of its peculiar formations and deposits. Shells of many varieties abound on its beaches, and conchologists from afar make the trip to secure the specimens spread in profusion. Nautilus shells, so much prized by the collector, may be found on the south coast beaches in the season. Throughout the large area of country south of Yorketown, forming the foot of the peninsula, there are no running streams or rivers. The country is mainly of an undulating character, with no hills or gullies of any size. The saucer shaped salt lakes scattered irregularly all over the country form a natural draining for surface water, very little of which flows into the sea.
The aeroplane view of Yorketown as illustrated in this page shows how the centre of the town is intersected by live main roads. These roads lead to Edithburgh, Stansbury, and Coobowie, Minlaton and Moonta, Warooka and Cape Spencer, and Port Moorowie. The picture also shows, the strange prevalence of snow-white salt lakes, which are numerous for many miles in all directions. Yorketown is situated in the Hundred of Melville, 10 miles inland from Edithburgh, and was the first town established on the peninsula south of Moonta. The town is governed by a corporation, proclaimed on February I, 1879, the first Mayor being Mr. E. Jacobs. At present the town rate is 6d. in the pound, the assessment being based on the unimproved value of the land, and, as a consequence, the council is somewhat hampered by a small revenue. The assessment on town blocks is based on the nearness, of the property to the convergence of the five roads; each hundred feet from the point of assessment dropping 2/6 per foot of frontage. The corporation area extends out from the centre of the town for approximately a half-mile. Outside of this area is controlled by the District Council of Melville, the largest towns in its confines being Yorketown, Edithburgh, Honiton, Wool Bay, and Coobowie. The Chairman of the district council (Mr. E. H. Giles, M.P.), is a practical agriculturist and pastoralist, and knows the whole of his district thoroughly. Yorketown can boast of having over 1,000 residents, this being the largest population of any town on the peninsula south of Moonta. Originally Yorketown was known by the name of Weaner's Flat. Close to the town in olden days Messrs. A. Anstey & Giles owned a sheep station, at which lambs were weaned each season, and in this way the name originated.
One of the oldest Yorketown residents (Mr. F. W. Friebe), who arrived in 1871, states that the first building (the Melville Hotel) was then being built. Kangaroos were prolific at that time, and emus were occasionally seen in the township locality. A flourmill was built 40 years ago adjoining his premises, and some years later, in drought time, the local wheat reaped was insufficient to supply the district with flour, and the mill was demolished. Mr. S. Woods, another of the old residents, tells of how he first came to Yorketown in 1873, arriving in the first place at Salt Creek in the ketch Edith Alice. He managed a store for. Mr. C. T. Lohrmann, and 11 years later purchased the business which is at the present time carried on by his two sons, and known as Wood Brothers. In those days there were only four stone buildings, in Yorketown, the Melville Hotel; the- store, and residence of Mr. E. Jacobs, the old Roman Catholic Church, and a two-roomed building where the Bank of Adelaide building now stands. There were four slab buildings also. What is now the main street was then scrubland, with only a track winding in and out along the route.
The Coming of Superphosphate.
Before superphosphate was introduced to Yorke's Peninsula, the country could hardly be considered suitable for successful cropping, although it was then widely known for its stock breeding qualities. With the advent of modern agricultural machinery and super, conditions underwent a complete change, and now some of the best barley in the world is grown in the district. The characteristics of the soil are such that superphosphate have given better results here than in any other part of the State.
Peninsula farmers owe much of their present-day progressiveness to such men as Lawes, the English experimenter, who first introduced superphosphate; to Mr. R, B. Smith, an elder brother of Mr. Clarence H. Smith, of Ardrossan, who invented the stump-jumping plough, and to Ridley, the inventor in South Australia of the stripper, without which factors the country could never have made the agricultural advance that if demonstrates today. Power farming at the present time is becoming very popular, and horses are gradually being replaced: In Southern Yorke's Peninsula there are from 80 to 100 tractors in use among farmers. A local tractor expert states that there is a continual demand for tractors in this district.
A remarkable number of Yorketown and district residents own motor cars, and on any day of the week many of these cars can be seen in the main streets of the town. The town has three garages, to cope with repairs for the district's great fleet of cars. Messrs. Murdoch Brothers are the proprietors of a modern garage fitted with all the latest Ford equipment imported from Canada. Many of those who were a few years ago strongly against the introduction of motor vehicles now possess a car themselves. On account of the heavy carting carried on throughout the year good roads are a necessity. Most of the roads on Yorke's Peninsula are built of limestone, everywhere accessible, but too soft a material for heavy traffic. Most of . the roads close to Yorketown are in good order, and compare very favourably with those to be found in many northern districts, although some of them are neglected on account of the council not having sufficient finance. The principal reason why good roads should be provided is that the peninsula has no railways, and depends solely upon its roads for essential transport. No hills need surmounting, nor are cuttings, culverts, or bridges required.
The younger generation, of farmers and pastoralists are very enterprising and progressive, and are more and more using all the latest agricultural machinery as well is concentrating upon the best quality of mixed farm stock. Close to Yorketown there are several well-known sheep stud farms. Mr. J. A. Bishop, of "Oaklands," exhibits his merino rams at shows throughout the peninsula, and has won a number of prizes at local and Adelaide shows. Mr. E. C. Jung is another successful breeder of both longwools and merinos at 'Sunbury', three miles from the town. As an instance of the excellent barley crops produced, Sir. George Droser, of Warooka, last season reaped 450 acres of barley, which averaged 38 bushels per acre.
The Railway Department at the commencement of this year inaugurated a daily motor service for passengers, mails, and parcels between Yorketown and Paskeville connecting up with the Adelaide-Moonta train service. For many years people residing on Yorke's Peninsula—more particularly in the southern districts— have suffered for the want of an adequate service, and welcome the innovation. A modern safety motor coach to accommodate 18 passengers as well as mails and luggage leaves Yorketown daily at 5.15 a.m. and returns to the town at 5 p.m., the passenger fare to Paskeville being 12/.
Home of the Salt Industry.
Yorke's Peninsula is the home of the salt industry, the best. quality article in the world being produced here. The country abounds in rich lakes, and well equipped factories convert the crude article into a delectable snow-white table commodity. Within an eight-mile radius of Yorketown there are over 200 salt lakes, the largest of these being Lake Fowler (which is 15 miles in circumference and has an area of 2,500 acres). On the south-eastern boundary of this lake there are millions of tons of gypsum in its powdered form, large quantities of which are shipped to New Zealand annually. Salt is harvested in payable quantities each summer from most of the lakes. A number of the farmers have lakes on their own properties or hold mineral leases to gather salt, so that when farming operations are completed salt-scraping is a useful standby. Most of the salt lakes and lagoons occur in the Hundreds of Dalrymple, Melville, and Moorowie, east of the Pusy Swamp. Measurements taken a few years ago by the Government Geologist, not including very small lagoons or low-lying areas of swampy land, showed the Hundred of Dalrymple to contain 2,285 acres of salt lakes. Melville 5,880 acres, and Moorowie 550 acres, a total of 8,715 acres. In the early days the lakes in some instances yielded very poor crops of salt. Munkowurlie Lake is an example of this. For many years its surface was composed principally of mud, but gradually salt came to the surface, until to-day the salt gathered is worth hundreds of pounds. The reason advanced by local residents is that the land in the locality was cleared of the dense scrub and was fallowed, thus allowing the water to soak through to the limestone below and wash salt into the lake. Two and a half miles from Yorketown is the Pink Lake, so called from the pinkish tinge in its salt crop. The salt gathered is of a purer variety than the usual salt deposits. Sticks or tins recovered in the summer time after some months in the lake are encrusted with a crystallized pinkish coating.
Close to Wool Bay, at Kleine's Point, the Adelaide Cement Company, has erected a concrete jetty for shipping its products. The cliffs abutting the sea are composed of limestone marine deposits in unlimited quantities, which are used in the manufactory of cement at Birkenhead. A new crushing plant and engines of 250 h.p. are at present being installed. The stone is quarried from the cliff into trucks, which are emptied into the crusher. It is then elevated into storage bins, and from thence to boats by an endless conveyer with a loading capacity of ' 250 to ' 300 tons per hour. At the present time 45 men are employed in this work.
The lime industry, which provides work for many men, is carried on at Coobowie, Wool Bay, Stansbury, Port Vincent, and Minlaton.
The Government in 1911 constructed a steel track (at a cost of £18,000) between Edithburgh and Seven Roads (a point seven miles from Edithburgh, where roads intersect for all directions) to facilitate the carting of the salt from Lake Fowler. Owing to the heavy salt traffic the track wore out in many places, and is at the present time being replaced by a 20-ft. macadamized road at a cost of £1,000 per mile. The method of haulage in regard to the salt industry is being changed from horses to tractors. During the past season there were six Fordson tractors in use between Edithburgh and the various lakes, each of these hauling from 8 to 10 tons. Gypsum works are operating at Cape Spencer and Marion Bay (situated nine miles apart), approximately 60 miles in a southwesterly direction from Yorketown. The Peninsula Plaster Company has a modern factory at the former locality, at which plaster of paris is manufactured, and this is delivered all over Australia. Fibrous plaster is also largely manufactured. The gypsum at Lake Fowler is of a different quality, being more in the form of earth, and is used principally in the manufacture of cement in New Zealand.
The flux industry was years ago successfully carried on at Port Turton, but has now closed down, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company finding that it can more economically work Wardonp Island and Iron Knob deposits. Flux is formed of large petrified shells, and is used in the smelting of ores.
A resident of Yorketown states that indications of oil have been found at various times in the southern portion of Yorke's Peninsula. A number of samples have been located on the seashore in one particular bay, while other specimens have been found 20 miles inland in country of a cavernous nature.
Mr. F. E. Swincer, of Minlaton, has oil claims pegged out in the Hundreds of Carribie and Warrenben. His samples have been analysed by Professor Wood, of the Adelaide University, who has visited the locality.
A Busy Centre.
Yorketown can boast of being served by two local newspapers, The Pioneer and The Clarion. The Pioneer, a four-page page production of good standing, with a circulation of 1,200 copies per week, is owned by Mr. Richard Wilkinson. It was established in 1898 by his brother, Mr, B. L. Wilkinson, who subsequently purchased The Border Chronicle at Bordertown. The Clarion, owned by Mr. R. T. Macfarlane is also a four-page paper. First printed in 1904, it circulates throughout southern Yorke's Peninsula and in other parts of the State. A large amount of job printing is executed at both of these printing offices. The Yorketown Hospital is one of the best to be met with on the peninsula, complete as it is with isolation wards, large operating theatre, comfortable nurses' quarters, and maternity wards. Plans for extensive additions to the hospital are in course of preparation. It serves two corporations and three, districts, each of which contribute to the upkeep in proportion to patients tended. The hospital is a part-time training school for general nurses, as well as a training school for midwifery nurses.Dr. Dr. W. H. Russell, who is medical officer in the hospital (also President of the South Australian Hospital Association) will shortly be leaving the town (after a resilience there of 16 years) to take up a practice at the Semaphore. His position at yorketown will be filled by his brother, Dr. A. V. Russell, of Minlaton. Yorketown is the biggest mail centre on Yorke's Peninsula, 120 private boxes being provided at the post office, of which 113 are in use. The town is connected with a daily mail service to Adelaide, via Paskeville. Yorketown streets are well lit with 16 electric lights, situated at convenient points. Over 128 consumers are connected to the service, and power, is used by a number of the local industrial concerns. The powerhouse, established by Mr, G. H. Riddle, in 1921, is now owned by Mr. S. W. Grabia. Originally one kerosine lamp did duty in the centre of the town. Later 16 acetylene lamps were placed at various points in the streets. The present system, however, has been found to be much better, and perhaps more economical than previously. A number of farm homesteads outside of the town area have private electric light and power plants. Yorketown is the business centre of southern Yorke's Peninsula. The largest general store business in the town is that of Messrs. Ericsson & Co., founded by Mr. E. Jacobs in 1867, and for many years carried on in the front part of the present site. The business has grown since then in keeping with the progress of the district and new departments have been added. During the past 10 years the floor space has increased to six times its former size. Mr. R. T. Macfarlane opened a general store 43 years ago in the main street at Yorketown. He later owned implement and furniture factories, as well as saddlery, harness making, and house and coach painting businesses; Prior to the war period he at one time employed 20 hands in the different departments. Now he has confined his business to the sale of general merchandise of every description.
Mr. William Riddle established a business at Yorketown in 1874, which has flourished ever since. At present thee various departments include blacksmith, wheelwright, machining, undertaking, windmill manufacturing, and ironmongery. There is good hotel accommodation at Yorketown, the Melville and the York Hotels providing every necessity for the comfort of travellers and tourists. Wireless sets have been installed at both hotels. New additions to the Melville Hotel are now being carried out, electric light and hot water services and a septic system are being installed. The additions are to be comfortably furnished, and will have spacious parlours. The hotel, when completed, will have 30 bedrooms. Two upto-date shops are to be erected adjoining the hotel, which will be a decided acquisition to the town. The Yorke Hotel was established just 50 years ago, so that the present is its jubilee year. For the past five years the hotel has been under the management of Mr. T. Horgan. Two years ago the building was completely renovated and enlarged, and nine new bedrooms were added.
On the outskirts of the town along the Stansbury road is the Soldiers' Memorial Park, with a large pavilion erected at a cost of over £1,500. Surrounding this oval are some 300 ornamental trees, each one of which was planted in memory of a soldier who went from the district to serve in the war. Football, cricket, and other sports are actively engaged in on the ground during the seasons. One of the great drawbacks of the district is the lack of a high school within reasonable distance, the nearest high school on the peninsula being at Moonta, 80 miles away. Other much needed conveniences are water and railway services. The religious welfare of the town is catered for by seven churches —two Lutheran, the Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Salvation Army.
A fine croquet ground was opened at the beginning of this month at Yorketown.
Edithburgh is a pleasant five-hour sea trip across St. Vincent's Gulf, a distance of 58 miles from Port Adelaide. Troubridge Lighthouse stands out six miles from the town in a seaward direction, its twinkling lights at night time warning mariners to keep away from a rocky reef. Edithburgh stands on a headland, while the low lying coastline of Yorke's Peninsula stretches away to the north and south.
Edithburgh is classed as the fourth shipping port in South Australia, and occupies a unique position of importance as a commercial coastal town. It owes much of its fame to the two large salt refineries there, which together ship away 30,000 tons of salt per annum to Adelaide, the other States, and New Zealand.
The Standard Salt and Alkali, Limited, and the Castle Salt Co-operative Company, Limited, both convert the crude article, into the delectable snow-white table commodity used in all our homes. Opposition in the salt market is very keen at the present time between the Edithburgh and other salt companies. The sample at these, two refineries has improved very much of late owing to the improved refining methods. At the present time 50 to 60 men are employed in the industry; in the town, although in the summer time this number is increased to 300 men (including salt scrapers and teamsters). Gypsum, lime, barley, oats, and wheat are shipped away from the port in large quantities. Edithburgh has the advantage of having deep, sea water, so that ocean going steamers can berth alongside the comparatively short jetty in safety.
The present system of daily mail service is not at all satisfying to residents of Edithburgh and of its surrounding district. Formerly mails were carried across St. Vincent's Gulf direct to Edithburgh, on the Warrawee. Since the beginning of this year they have been carried overland via Paskeville and Yorketown, so that residents are not able to receive their mail until late in the evening. The electric light scheme at Edithburgh is considered by residents to be second to none in country districts of South Australia. It was installed by Messrs. Deland, Wyllie, and Davies, of Adelaide, in December last. The town streets, are lit with 13 street lights, while there are 70 consumers beside.
The town is governed by an active corporation, with Mr. H. J. Middleton at Mayor and Mr. J. E. Abbott as Town Clerk, and as a result streets and footpaths are kept in good order. Town buildings consist of three general stores, shops of all descriptions, two hotels,fine institute (to accommodate an audience of 400), three churches, garage, and two salt refineries. In subsequent issues, whole page articles referring to Minlaton, Maitland, and Ardrossan progress will appear, which will be of interest to Yorke's Peninsula residents.
MR. W. R KELLY : Mayor of Yorketown. He started practising as a barrister and solicitor at Yorketown immediately after his admission to the Bar five years ago. For the past four years he has been a member of the town, council. He holds numerous public positions in Yorketown, including President of the local branch of the Liberal Federation, and Vice-President of the Liberal Federation District Committee, President of the Football and Cricket Peninsula Golf Association, and also of the Vigilance Committee.
MR. W. R. KELLY, Mayor of Yorketown. photo
Gypsum Deposits on the Banks of Lake Fowler, three miles from Yorketown. photo
Edithburgh, a Busy Shipping Centre on Yorke's Peninsula, and Fourth Port for South Australia. photo
MR. H. J. MIDDLETON, Mayor of Edithburgh and local manager for the well-known firm of Messrs. J. O. Tiddy. &, Co. For the past six years he has been one of Edithburgh's: Councillors. He is Chairman of the local Board of Health and also of the oval committee, Patron of the cricket and football clubs, and vice-captain of the golf club. photo
MR. E, H. GILES, M.P., of Yorketown Chairman of the District Council of Melville. He was born and has lived close to Yorketown all his life. In 1902, when but 10 years of age, he was appointed as clerk of the District Council of Melville, which position he held until 1920. He has aways taken a prominent part in the progress of his district, and was some time ago chosen to fill the vacancy in the House of Assembly caused by the death of the late Peter Allen. photo
Yorketown from the Air. photo