Sat 10 Jun 1871, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1868 - 1881) Trove

There is no more interesting study for thoughtful men than to watch the progress of material industries opened out in new colonies. A great portion of man's work in this world is to subdue the earth, and to turn it to account for the general good of humanity. New countries inhabited by savages are to a great extent useless. The lower order of aborigines are both incompetent and helpless. This is especially the case with the Australian natives. For how many generations have they held possession of this great islandcontinent ; but they have never made it of any use beyond satisfying the fewest material wants of every-day life. They have never got anything in the shape of crops off the soil ; they have never dreamt of the mineral treasures under the soil. They have lived, for how many centuries we know not, a mere animal life, content if they could, find sustenance for them selves and their families. Until within the last quarter of a century this was the case with the aborigines of Yorke's Peninsula. When the white men took possession of this country it was held only as a sheep run. The natives were wild as the March winds, and living in the most primitive way. For several years the country was regarded as only fit to pasture sheep, and it was only when the first discovery of copper was made, by a shepherd in the employment of Captain Hughes, that a belief in the possibilities of future mineral wealth was entertained.

From that time the destinies of the Peninsula were newly directed. From being a sheep-run of comparatively little worth, it became the seat of an extensive industry. The first sod which was turned on the Wallaroo Mines was the presage of a new state of things. The discoverer of the mines was able to avail himself of the capital necessary to develop them, and proceedings were at once commenced to bring the bidden treasures to light. How the discovery at Wallaroo was followed by that at Moonta has been often told, and need not be again referred to here. Population poured into the mineral district ; townships requiring hundreds of houses, and consisting of thousands of persons, gathered around the new seat of industry. Ten years ago there was not one house at Moonta ; now there are two large townships — that on the Mines, and that laid out by Government. It is very difficult in walking through these townships to realise the fact that only ten years ago the whole country was a barren sheep run. Now we see respectable houses erected everywhere, large places of worship which would be no dishonor to old-established towns in England, stores and inns sufficient to meet the wants of thousands of persons, and signs of material industry and progress of a most encouraging character. The same indications of prosperity are seen in the other townships on the Peninsula. Kadina, from its contiguity to the Wallaroo Mines, is flourishing. Wallaroo Bay, though having had to contend with many difficulties, has well-nigh surmounted them all. The smelting works absorb a vast amount of labor, and give sustenance to hundreds of families. The railway from Kadina and Moonta has proved to be a most remunerative undertaking. Under the able managership of Mr. Marshall it has not only paid large dividends, but found out of the profits sufficient funds to extend its operations and to enlarge its property. Every year the value of the property is being increased without any diminution in the dividends paid to tie fortunate shareholders. At the present time Mr. G. E. Hamilton, C.E., is on the Peninsula surveying the land for an extension of the railway to the Doora Mine, the last fortunate discovery of Captain Hughes, and from Moonta to Moonta Bay.

Nor is this all. ' However rich in mineral wealth the Peninsula was supposed to be, no one ever imagined that the land, was suitable for agriculture. Indeed within the last half -a-dozen years it has been confidently asserted that the barren desert, as it was called, would never yield a reward to the husbandman. This vaticination, however, has proved to be incorrect. Excellent crops of wheat and hay have been raised in the Wallaroo district, and when once the experiment was proved to be successful, and it was shown that the Peninsula was not unsuitable for agricultural purposes, a considerable number of persons took up land with a view to cultivation. At the present season a large quantity of land is under wheat. Spirited proprietors have fenced in -good-sized sections, and now young wheat crops ate springing up in all directions. A great deal of the land lying between Kadina and Wallaroo Bay is of excellent quality ; and, with a moderate share of rain, will produce good crops. Many of the settlershave purchased email allotments of from five to twenty acres, which they have brought under successful cultivation. It is difficult to estimate the value of such pursuits to the people in the mining districts. Hitherto all that has been consumed by the people had to be brought from a distance, and, of course, was sold to the residents at a large increase of price. Now there is a prospect of. wheat, hay, and vegetables being produced in large quantities within a few miles of the population. Probably these products will not be sufficient' to supply the whole wants of the people for some time, but they will assist materially towards this object. We are glad to see that the miners themselves have devoted their surplus time to cottage-gardening, and that they are raising good and useful crops of vegetables. They have outlived the notion that the soil is utterly barren. They have put to the test the forces of Nature, and have proved that, although she is coy to woo, she may by honest endeavor be both wooed and won. There is every reason to believe that there is a great future before Yorke's Peninsula. There are untold mineral treasures yet to be developed. From all we can learn, we have reason to believe that we are only on the verge of great discoveries yet to be made. The earth is full of riches. Much money has undoubtedly been lost in mining speculations there, but in almost every instance when sufficient capital has enabled operations to be prosecuted vigorously, the reward has been certain. But for the wealth drawn from the bowels of the earth on Yorke's Peninsula we should have been in a sorry plight during the last few years. Though the price of copper has been exceptionally low, employment has been found for thousands of families, and the money earned by them has been distributed over the whole colony. We hope as it has been in the past so it will be in the future, and more abundantly.