SOUTHERN YORKE'S PENINSULA,
The above designation may appear somewhat incongraous in describing the following places; but it was need in the first instance, and is still continued, in contradistinction from the Wallaroo district, which is usually understood by the term Yorke's Peninsula alone.
By this name is known a tract of country included within the Hundreds of Maitiand and Kilkerran, the former being the name also of the township which has been laid out in a central position about midway between the coasts of Spencer's and St. Vincent's Gulfs. The surrounding country consists of not one, but a number of valleys and hills. The soil is of a rich Bay of Biscay character, equal, I should say, in quality to any in the colony. There were about 1,800 acres in crop last year, and the average yield will probably be from fourteen to fifteen bnshels per acre. Already a number of settlers have built themselves stone cottages, although they have had but one season on the land, and there is a large quantity of fallowing done for next season. The land is timbered in belts mid-patches with heavy mallee scrub, but a great portion of that which is taken up was free from that obstruction. The work of breaking up the virgin soil is formidable enough nevertheless, the heavy black grass rendering it impossible to work a single plough with less than four good horses. What is known among the farmers as " black grass" will be better understood by the uninitiated if I state that it is a kind of flat rush which grows in clumps or tussocks, the rootlets of which are so tough that when a strong team of horses are at work the plough coming in contact with an extra heavy clump is sometimes literally torn asunder. This must be something like the breaking up of the American prairie, which is generally performed for thesettlers at so much per acre by men who make it their special business, and have teams and implements suitable for the purpose. The produce of last year over and above that required for seed has been mostly shipped at Parara, which is distant from 15 to 20 miles, the length depending upon the part of the area from which the wheat has to go, and there being only one track through the mallee scrub, and that is the old one from Mr. Rogers's station at the south end of the valley. A direct road has been surveyed from Maitland Township to Ardrossan on the coast, the length of which is 131 miles. This is now being cleared, as being at present dense mallee scrub it is totally invaluable. Some of the farmers on the northern part of the Valley have taken their wheat to Moonta, a distance from 25 to 30 miles, and it is probable there will always be a portion of the produce that will find its way to that market. Oakdene, the head station of Mr. Samuel Rogers, J.P., is in a somewhat central position in the main valley, and on either side of it are two wells 150 and 160 feet deep respectively. One of these has been reserved on the guarantee of several of the settlers to maintain it in good order. It is now being worked by horse-power night and day, for which the settlers pay £4 10a. per week. A great number of cattle are watered thereat every day, and the well is sometimes dried; but the springs are so strong that after a very, short stoppage the pumping can be resumed. For drinking water most of the settlers goto Point Pierce, a distance of some 10 miles andmore, where they obtain good fresh water from shallow wells in the sand. They hope, however, next year to store a sufficient supply from the rainfall in the tanks and dams which they are constructing. The subsoil is of such a nature that in most places merely scooping out waterholes is sufficient. There are men who do this work, having the necessary appliances, at 7 1/2 d. per cubic yard, and but for the difficulty and expense in obtaining horsefeed it would be done at a considerably lower rate. A number of very large reservoirs are being and have been taken out for Mr. Rogers, who has recently began farming on a considerable scale, and has erected a very fine stable about 50 yards long, roofed with galvanized iron. Excellent straight posts for sheds as well as fences are obtained from the mallee in the neighbourhood. At Oakdene there were geraniums and other flowers, both in pots and in beds, that wonld do credit to an Adelaide garden; but very little had been accomplished in horticulture. Several of the settlers have planted fruit, trees, and believe that they will do well. The township of Maitland contains two smithies, and a store in full operation, an hotel, built but not yet opened, a butcher's allotment, and one or two private cottages. There is some very good land to the south of that already occupied. I believe it is surveyed, and many friends of settlers are anxiously awaiting its being thrown open. In other directions there is some second if not first class agricultural land which will sooner or later have to be surveyed. The next place I visited was
the residence of Mr. Wm. Fowler, an old resident on the Peninsula, formerly at Moorowie, already referred to. Five years ago Mr. Fowler decided to remove to the site, of his present homestead situate in the midst of his winter run, where he has several thousand acres of freehold land, which he secured before the credit system came in force. In getting to the spot from Maitland the traveller has to pass through some 25 miles of almost unbroken mallee scrub, and having to follow the one track, which is the only feasible way save to an experienced bushman, the distance is rendered much greater than it would be if a straight cut could be made across the country. Mr. Fowler's house, which is substantial and commodious, is situated in an opening in a range of hills a few miles distant from the coast, and through the gully a beautiful view is obtained of the Gulf, a belt of scrub intervening and giving variety to the landscape, while the houses at Port Wakefield are visible in the morning and evening, when the sun's rays fall obliquely upon them. Mr. Fowler had last year 1,000 acres under crop with wheat, and reaped nine bushels per acre, the crop having been merely harrowed in. The previous year his average was nineteen bushels. This year the land will not he cropped, but simply left to grow whatever it will, and fed with sheep, by which means the grass and tussocks will be thoroughly rotted before being ploughed the second time. A large quantity, of fresh land is, however, either already fallowed or being ploughed for sowing this season. The spot which Mr. Fowler selected has been vastly changed, and presents, evidence of wise and liberal expenditure. Although this is only the fifth year since the garden was planted, there are pine and poplar trees twelve or fourteen feet high, fruit-trees of all kinds of nearly equal growth, and already beginning to bear; while of grapes there are plenty, which, like the other fruit, are of fine quality. The flowers, of which Mrs. Fowler has some choice specimens, present a not less flourishing appearance, bearing in mind the advanced stage of the season. The plan adopted in preparing the garden was subsoil ploughing to the depth of 18 inches, and the result tends to establish the superiority of that system over hand trenching. It loosens the soil so as to enable the roots of the trees to easily penetrate to a sufficient depth without burying below the surface top mould, which is so valuable to the early growth of every plant. Besides the more ordinary kind of fruit trees there are orange trees in almost as forward a state as those previously referred to, and that without any artificial watering. In the farmyard are stables for about 30 horses, the timber in the locality affording excellent material for all kinds of sheds as well as fences, the latter being formed of stakes driven in the ground, and then the long supple mallee sticks laced between them, thus affording a sheep-fence which is unsurpassed and inexpensive, the work of making them being generally done by the blacks, who if they found in every one as good friends as Mr. and Mrs. Fowler would have very little cause to complain. A fine substantial stone barn has been built, capable of holding several thousand bushels of wheat, and built on the slope of a hill, so that wheat may be both taken in and out with a minimum of labour. The side walls are sufficiefitiy strengthened by buttresses ao extended as to form, by the extension of the roof, commodious sheds, which are naed for tioimu k purposes. Eight reaping-machines are wyfl at harvest time. A smith's and a carpenter's shop are permanently adjuncts to the establishment. The land not cropped is used for grazing proposes, and the fine Lincoln sheep to he seen around the homestead are in themselves a beautified sight. The whole of the water for every purpose is obtained from either cement tanks or reservoirs— chiefly the latter — of which there are a large number in all parts of ground, and so situated, that from a moderate shower several thousand gallons of water are secured. Yarroo is on route from Port Wakefield to Yorke Valley and to those who are rathe habit of travelling in that direction the genial welcome and hospitable entertainment of Mr, and Mrs. Fowler are so well known as to render it a favourite place of call.
is a small township, which is to be after Aprilnert the station from which the branch mail will start to Yorke Valley and southern townships of the Peninsula. The hundred which bears the same name therein a good deal of cultivation at open places, the largest of which is known by the name of "The Cocoanut," while some distances beyond, in a southerly direction the Kalkabury Area plainly shows itself. The cultivation there has not been very extensive, a large portion of the land being covered with scrub. What has been under crop has yielded well. The average of this and Kulpara Hundred will probably not be less than 12 bushels per acre. Water is a very scarce commodity. There is none but what is caught and stored and the inhabitants do not appear to have made sufficient provision for a dry season such as the last, and are now many of them carting from Kadina and the Hummocks. There is a Government dam at Kulpara, which has still a moderate supply, but the use of that is very properly restricted to bona fide travellers. If it were not so the supply would soon disappear. The line of the Port Wakefield and Kadina Railway crossed between Kulpara and Mr. Fowler s, through whose ground it runs for some distance. From the top of the range which is a kind of spur from the Hummocks, there is a clear view of Green's Plains', and Moonta and Kadina may be seen beyond.
THE PARARA MINE AND ARDROSSAN.
This mine is situated a short distance from the beaten track between Clinton and Parara, at the head of a gully surrounded on three sides with mallee scrub. There are six cottages, besides the smith's shop and Captain Tregoweth's residence. The number of men in the employ of the Company is twenty. A considerable pile of stuff has been turned out from the mine, and the place has a promising appearance. The Company have endeavoured, as far as possible, to avoid heavy expenditure above ground, but it was necessary the men should have places to live in, so they have either built or supplied the timber for several of the cottages. They have also taken out two large tanks to secure a supply of water, and when they once get filled they will have abundance to last through even a dry season. The main shaft has been taken down 30- fathoms. At the 20-fathom level some rich ore was obtained, and it is hoped that in a short time the lode will be "fit to save," but that happy stage has not yet been arrived at. There are a few tons of dressable stuff at the surface, containing for the most part grey ore with a little yellow. The men have been engaged during the last few days in timbering the shaft, which is going down the course of the lode with an underlay of two feet in the fathom. Whenever the mine yields payable ore the cartage will be a very inexpensive affair, as the site of Ardrossan is only distant from one and a half to two miles. A township has been laid out there by the Government, and it is presumed a jetty will be erected, as until that is done the township can be of no service whatever as a shipping place. In the absence of sheep, which are very scarce in the neighbourhood, the miners obtain large quantities of crabs from the coast. I saw two of them returning with half a sackful, which they had caught while I was looking at the mine.
In what I have written of my few days of travel from Edithburgh to the northern end of the Peninsula, I have not attempted to give a detailed account either of the settled or the unsettled land of Yorke's Peninsula, which is a tract of country nearly equal in extent to the whole of the settled districts north of Adelaide as far as the Burra. A portion of this is no doubt of a nature that, will never be fit for anything other than sheep-feeding; but there are many hundreds of miles, generally between the scrub and the sea-shore, of a fair arable nature, which will sooner or later be peopled with an agricultural population. The southern end, at the Troubridge, Area has already established a reputation as an agricultural district, although what has been brought under crop is but a small portion of what is still left, to be subdued. Standing on elevated points one may see clearings and stubble-fields all around, but still, they are surrounded with sheaoak forests. Dummyism has had not a little to do in retarding cultivation, as many square-mile blocks of the best of the land have been taken up and used for nothing but sheep-feeding. As long, however, as the improvements were made and the men resided on the land there was no impeaching their position, and many of the agreements have actually been concluded and the fee-simple of the sections obtained. There was no mistaking the dummy blocks taken up under the old Act, but with the present law and compulsory cultivation the distinction is less palpable, although the system has not been altogether extinguished. Postal facilities have been extended to meet the wants of the increasing number of settlers, and after this month there will be a mail twice a week to and from Kulpara, and thence connecting with Adelaide and the Wallaroo townships. The mail will arrive at Weaners Flat on Wednesdays' and Saturdays at about 2 o'clock, and from thence there are branch services to Edithburgh, Penton Vale, and Oyster Bay, and the Peesey Range. There is also a mail once a week across the Golf from Glenelg, which has been secured after along and arduous struggle by the advocates of Edithburgh, and with anything but a head wind the communication by this means is considerably faster than by any other. On the other hand the land service, though taking longer, is certainly more reliable. A stir is now being, made to obtain the benefits of telegraphic communication, which, in view of the proposal of the Marine Board, there should be little difficulty in accomplishing. The construction of a line from Kulpara or some other point on the existing line to Cape Spencer would be an inexpensive work compared with the other schemes which hare been mooted for the purpose of obtaining early intelligence of ships entering the Gulf, while the wire would pass through settled country where danger of injury and expense of repair would be reduced to the minimum, besides the important facilities that would be afforded to a large number of settlers. The most direct route would be via Yorke Yalley and Weaaer's Flat ; but the people at Edithburgh would not be satisfied without at least a branch, and I believe they advocate the line being taken along the eastern coast, which would accommodate Parara or Ardrossan, and Stansbury, Oyster Bay, both places at which large and annually increasing quantities of wheat will be shipped. The reply of the Treasurer to the Marine Board's recommendation for the building of a lighthouse at Cape Spencer seems to indicate that some time will elapse before that is accomplished, but that will be no reason why the telegraph should not be extended very shortly, at least to the settled districts of the Peninsula, so affording immediate communication to that part of the country, while it will also be an important step towards the accomplishment at a future date of the outer object.
GOVERNMENT WELL AT YORKE VALLEY.
Mr. HUGHES moved
'That the memorial, Petition No. 88, of selectors of land m the Hundreds of Maitland and Kiikerran granting the prayer thereof.
This was a very urgent case indeed. Tomorrow the Government intended to sell the lease of a well. which was as far as he knew, the only one in the neighbourhood. Yesterday a memorial was presented from 60 settlers representing that the wellconI arable for themselves and cattle, and that if the well were leased it would make the cost of water almost ruinous. He had asked Hie Government to at any rate postpone the sale. They declined to do so. but said that if there had been a District Council they would be willing to hand it over. He understood that the inhabitants were perfectly willing to form themselves into a District Council, and he would ask that the lease might be withdrawn until they could do so. The Commissioner of Crown Lands did not see his way l® that, and meant to "let (the) well alone" - (On and laughter)—but he did not think they should leave the well alone, aB it was a matter of importance to the district.
Maitland Corparation Dams
The new dam now contains 8 feet of water at least. This would not have been the case if Mr E. Langford and others had not cleaned the drains and water courses leading into it. Surely after the Government have gone to the expense of making a splendid dam the residents ought not to allow water to ran to waste for the want of a proper custodian. The fees that would be charged to those who require water would more than pay the expense as well as keeping the dam in repair. I am quite certain after the hardships that had to be endured last year for the want of water no one would object to pay a small fee to obtain it as they do for depasturing cattle, &c., A mistake has been made with regard to the pump, it ought to be either inside the embankment or the pipe let through the embankment at the same level as the top of the dam. Now the water has to be pumped up, on tbe embankment and then run down, and it takes nearly 10 minutes before the water begins to flow.
We have had some splendid rains lately, and the early sown crops are looking remarkably well, which puts the farmers, and in fact everyone in high spirits, and if this propitious weather continues, a capital harvest may be anticipated. The seeding and ploughing are nearly over, and then the township will once more be yisited by the farmers, for lately they have been ioo busy to comein. That the tradespeople have faith in a great future for Maitland, is proud by the fact that a new store, belonging to Mr Lehman, has just been erected. Our new saddler, Mr Henwood has built a large workshop, and it is rumoured that Messrs Drew Bros., and Mr J. McH. Clark of Moonta are going to erect stores. Mr Lousada, the agent for the Colonial Life Insurance Society is about to establish himself here as a General Agent and Auctioneer. Mr Pearce, the landlord of the Yorke Valley Hotel, is to build him an office next to his house, and when the Post and Telegraph Office is completed, and the prayer of a Petition which will be forwarded to tbe Honorable the House of Assembly, for the erection of a Court House is granted, Maitland will assume a very imposing appearance. Why the Government are so dilatory in accepting the tenders sent in re Post Office I cannot understand. The same remarks apply to Police protection. The road from this place to Moonta is wonderfully improved thanks to the energy of our Local Road Board and the Superintending Surveyor. The fencing of the School has been commenced. I wonder when they are going to enlarge the schoolroom, as it is most necessary they should do so.
MAITLAND, April, 7.
The Maitland and Kalkabury Government dams having for some time been completely dry, and nearly all the farmers' dams being in a like condition through the long drought, efforts have been made by a few of the farmers to start the Government well, situated in Yorke Valley, some two and half miles from here. This well, which was made by Mr. T. Rogers, sheepfarmer, is 170 feet deep. An iron pipe with a double action pump worked by two horses is utilised to draw water. When Yorke Valley was thrown open to farmers the well with the improvements on the section where it is constructed were valued at £1,000. The sad experience of two or three dry seasons proves that the money was well spent, as it is now the main source of our water supply, for cattle (the water is too brackish for human consumption). Having been in disuse for many months the machinery had become unworkable, and last Monday Messrs. Thos. Bowman and N. W. Wilson, assisted by Mr. John Hill, descended the well for the purpose, of putting it in thorough repair. This was accomplished after three or four days' hard work, and a good deal of mechanical skill and ingenuity were brought into requisition by the two first named gentle men. A rather sensational episode occurred in connection with the affair. On Thursday afternoon a snake six feet long was discovered by Mr. Wilson in the water. Mr. Bowman, who was standing on a platform several feet above him, lowered a bucket, and Mr. Wilson very coolly, with the aid of a srick, succeeded in depositing his snakeship in the bucket, when Mr. Bowman,' with equal coolness, dispatched the unwelcome visitor with a spade, but not before it had nearly dropped on Mr. Wilson's head. — We have now two Government dams, the last one having just been constructed in time for the winter, so next year it is hoped that the inhabitants will have a full supply of good rainwater. — A memorial to the Trustees of the Savings Bank is being numerously signed, petitioning for the establishment of an agency in Maitland:
BOEING FOR WATER AT MAITLAND.
Mr. Caldwell, M.P., introduced a deputation to the Commissioner of Crown Lands on Thursday morning, asking that the Government diamond drill might be sent to Maitland. Mr. Caldwell said that from his knowledge of the place good water could be obtained in the locality from which the deputation came. The Government geologist (Mr. Brown) had also reported very favorably as to the probable discovery of good stock water on the Peninsula.
Mr. Short said that he had come to ask the commissioner to relieve a very pressing want. If they did not get a good fall of rain withim a month the farmers of his district would be in great distress. At the present time nearly all the dams in the neighborhood were dry, and water was already very badly required. There certainly was a well at Yorke Valley, but this was in a filthy state, and would have to be cleaned out before the water contained in it would be drinkable. At the last census it was found that 3,779 horses, 2,116 cattle, and 15,794 sheep were kept by residents in the neighborhood of Maitland, 25 per cent, could safely be added to those numbers to indicate how many animals were now bred in this dirtrict. The Commissioner would therefore see that it was absolutely necessary that the deputationists and those whom tliey represented should be permanently supplied with water. He (Mr. Sshuit) had heard that it was the intention of the Government to send the diamond drill to Muloowurtie, but this would, in his opinion, be a mistake, as the wants of Maitland in this respect were certainly more pressing.
Mr. Cornish said that besides the one at Yorke Valley already alluded to, the nearest Government well was at Point Pearce, a distance of fourteen miles from Maitland. Several farmers had endeavored to obtain water by sinking wells, but he had hitherto not been very successful. Other speakers having endorsed the remarks of those who preceded them.
The Commissioner replied. He said that he would again interview the Conservator of Water as to the possibility of obtaining a permanent water supply for the fanners living on the Peninsula. In perusing Mr. Deakin's second progress report he had noticed that the faimera in Victoria always preferred to excavate dams to using any other means of obtaining water, rnd he agreed with them, He would use every means that was expedient to enable the members of the deputation to obtain water.
MAITLAND FARMERS' UNION.
The monthly meeting of the Maitland Farmers' Union was held on Saturday afternoon, August 28. There was a good attendance of members, and the president (Mr. Thos. Bowman) occupied the chair. The Conservator of Water forwarded a plan of "Yorke Valley Well," which he had placed under the control of the union. Mr. JAMES HOWARD said that some time ago he wrote to the Conservator of Water, explaining that the farmers in the neighborhood were badly off for water, when their own dams run dry, and asking if the conservator would cause a dam to be sunk in the locality indicated. The Conservator replied that he was quite willing to sink such a dam provided a suitable piece of land could be obtained and that if the residents in any district badly situated as regarded a water supply would guarantee five per cent, per annum on the cost, and find a suitable piece of land, the department would willingly have a dam sunk. All the members expressed approval at the conservator's offer, and it was pointed out that if one resident gave the necessary guarantee the work would be executed, the only condition made by the conservator being that the public have access to the water at all reasonable times upon payment of the usual rates. Mr. Jarrett said as they were discussing the water question he would like to mention that a farmer in Wauraltee (Mr. Gersch) had put down a bore-hole, and at a depth of 60 feet had cut good water. He thought farmers should if possible have a few holes put down. Mr. Wundersitz considered that the Government should be requested to send a drill over to Maitland. Many in the neighborhood were firmly of the opinion that water could be obtained upon the reserve to the eastward, and he would move— "That the secretary write to the Conservator of Water, asking him to have a bore put down on section 225." It was suggested that the members for the district be written to, asking them to support the request. This being added to the proposition it was carried. The Mount Rat Farmers' Union wrote re working men's certificates- To be informed "That while the Union approves of the principle it fears it will prove unworkable unless adopted all over the Peninsula." Six new members were elected. A very interesting discussion took place upon fodder plants. Amongst the best mentioned were the prickly comfrey, amber cane, tagosaste, one thousand-headed kale, and the yam. Mr. T. Smith laid upon the table some of the last named for distribution amongst the members, who seemed very curious to inspect what was claimed to be the crop of the future. Mr. JAMES HOWARD promised to read a paper at he next meeting upon " Taxation."
DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.
Maitland. March 29.
Last evening, at about 10.45 o'clock, rain started to fall, and gradually became heavier until about 11.30, when a severe thunderstorm was experienced. Up till 9 a.m. to-day half an inch was registered here. From three to six miles south of the town, through the Yorke Valley, the storm was much more severe, and from 2 in. to 2\ in. of rain were registered. Much damage was done to property and roads. At Mr. H. G. Tossell's residence the water flowed right through the house. Dams and tanks were filled. Mr. A. W. Jarrett, a neighbor, of Mr. Tossell, also suffered damage to his property. Messrs. J. Kelly, J. N. Smith and Sons, and H. Pitcher & Sons had fencing washed away. Some of the dams have not had water in them for years. The Government dam at Yorke Valley, which holds about 800.000 gallons, was also filled. This was quite dry, having been cleaned out recently. In some cases gates were burst open by heavy obstacles being washed against them. The metal on the roads in places was washed away.
The Travels and Experiences of a Devonshire Boy.