Kangaroo Island Farms.
No. V. ADAVALE.
In this article the much despised ironstone country will not come under review. K.I. has had so many bumps and seems to lie under such a heavy cloud that if we talk about 70 bushels of oats, 60 of wheat and 40 of barley per acre, as we will further on, we will, no doubt, run the risk of being called a perverter of the truth — probably by a few of the Islanders themselves, who have grown so accustomed to the way in which some mainlanders depreciate the place that, like a flock of sheep, they are inclined to follow the bell-wether. Furthermore, we must be very careful to state that ' Adavale' is not typical of the bulk of Kangaroo Island land. We have to be very very careful not to make a slip when ' writing up' the Island, although such things are permissible in other districts.
So with much careful arrangement of facts and figures, we set forth to describe 'Adavale,' the property of Mr. A. C. Burgess, which, until it was rescued from the scrub was, probably, despised and looked down upon in just the same way as those thousands of acres of ironstone country are to-day. It was to the courtesy of the Clerk of the District Council of Kingscote (Mr H. B. Partridge) who was setting out on one of his lengthy trips over district roads, that we were indebted for a "lift" out to ''Adavale" recently. A drive of some two or three hours' duration and "White Lagoon," the name by which it is generally known, was reached, the distance from Kingscote being from 18 to 20 miles. We were fortunate in finding Mr Burgess at home and received a hospitable welcome from that well-known resident and the partner of his joys and sorrows which last, judging by the fact that Mr and Mrs Burgess have reared a family of ten children at Adavale, none of whom have required a doctor's care, have, probably, been conspicuous by their absence; to use a timeworn phrase).
The homestead ' Adavale' is situated on rising ground, and from there a good view of the estate (which comprises 3,330 acres of freehold) can be obtained. To the left there is a serried line, of curiously formed hummocks which, like the ramparts of a fort looking out to sea, stand guard over White Lagoon — a sheet of salt -water — while in front is a long stretch of cleared country — over a goodly tract of which the green shoots were already, making their way above the cultivated areas. This year Mr Burgess is 'putting in' 150 acres of wheat (principally of the Gallant's Hybrid and Federation varieties) barley and oats. Mr Burgess, by the way, has always secured top price for wheat, and he has sown that cereal every year since he first "pitched camp" at Adavale.
In company with our host we first made a tour of the paddocks adjoining the homestead. En route the vegetable garden (a useful adjunct to any property) was passed through, and here cauliflowers, carrots, turnips, tomatoes and other vegetables were showing vigorous growth. The first paddock crossed—of 90 acres—comprised alluvial flats principally. All this is being put under cultivation this year—most of the crop having already made a good start, 35 acres of oats looking particularly forward.
Continuing in a south to south-westerly course from the house a 30 acre "paddock" was passed through. This was under mellilotus. In October, Mr Burgess stated, the mellilotus would be up to the height of a man's waist. It is in that month that Adavale is to be seen at its best, although the property carries fair feed all the year round. This paddock gave Mr Burgess a return of 4 tons of hay to the acre five years ago. It might be mentioned here that the owner of Adavale not only grows his own horse-feed but disposes of quantities of hay to his neighbors. A fine cultivation paddock of 100 acres (now under stubble) was next traversed, and in passing over it, even a novice could perceive the ease with which this land could be worked, and the facilities offered to farming implements of all descriptions, of getting over the ground smoothly. Ou portion of this potatoes were grown last year at the rate of 8 tons per acre.
Retracing our steps Mr Burgess, on the return journey, referred to an article he had recently seen with reference to seaweed as a fertilizer. He stated that he had tried experiments with the seaweed and had met with success. Seeing that (as we were informed) there are hundreds of thousands of tons of seaweed on the beach within 7 miles of White Lagoon there should be great possibilities lying in the direction of an intensive and cheap system of agriculture on this part of the Island and certainly, on Adavale alone there is room for a number of families.
After lunch a drive across the property was indulged in — the first place of interest visited being Wattle Grove Farm — of 500 acres — which forms portion of the Adavale Estate, and had been 'farmed' until recently by Mr W. C. Burgess who (seized by a fever which is at the present time responsible for one of Australia's greatest troubles, viz., ' the rush to the cities,' on the part of young agriculturists who, if they only knew it, enjoy many more advantages in the country) has gone to Adelaide. Entering the boundaries of Wattle Grove a stretch of 45 acres— level as a billiard table— was observed to be under cultivation. Federation wheat had been sown here and the green shoots sprouting above the soil showed healthy growth. This country, we were informed, had not been ploughed at all. ' We simply ran the cultivator over it,' said Mr Burgess.
Next on the list came a tract of country upon which the Yorkshire Fog and cocksfoot grasses mixed had been sown amongst the grasses the previous year. It was evident that these grasses— bulldog fashion — had a vigorous bold of the soil, and it is quite evident they have ' come to stay' on the Island. The owner of Adavale favors the Yorkshire Fog. 'Cocksfoot,' he says, 'is a good grass, but stock eat the heart out of it, consequently there is a lot of waste.' There is a nice residence at Wattle Grove, with a pretty flower garden in front, and down the slope from the house a vegetable garden where mangels [a large coarse yellow-to reddish-orange beet grown chiefly as food for cattle] and other vegetables flourish, and here one is struck by the fact that in the cultivation of mangels alone (K.I. can, by the way, compete with any part of the Commonwealth with its mangels) a big factor in the production of bacon and cream would be established. Everywhere in the vicinity of the homestead green feed was growing in abundance.
Another stage of the trip was negotiated and White Lagoon Park, a 260-acre section of Adavale, worked by another of Mr Burgess's sons, was inspected. At the Park 70 bushels of oats per acre and 30 of barley ware taken off last year. Here, as on other portions of the estate, there is abundance of fresh water. Bush Lagoon is a valuable asset in this respect. Sixteen years ago Mr Burgess held 16,000 acres, but, when the leases reverted to the Crown, he secured of this 3,350 acres as freehold. The country was formerly held by Mr C. Price. Mr Burgess started operations with a set plough, two horses, one spreader and 600 sheep. From the first year's cultivation he secured from 25 to 30 bushels per acre. The second year he again cultivated, still using a set plough. Without manure be realised from 25 to 30 bushels of wheat. In fact, for the first 6 years, he did not use manures. About the seventh year he started on fertilizers. He informed us that he had grown up to 70 bushels of oats per acre, up to 60 bushels of wheat (on fallow land) and up to 40 bushels of barley. He has gone in considerably for the sowing of Yorkshire Fog, cocksfoot and rye grasses which should greatly extend the carrying capacity of the property. About 1000 sheep are now running on Adavale, and 20 head of horses. We have Mr Burgess' own statement that his income is £1000 a year—not bad for a farmer residing in a district which, some wiseacres affirm, ' won't keep a goat to the acre.' In one season he paid no less than £14 odd on income tax.Kangaroo Island Farms. (1910, June 25). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191637681
During the week the well-known Adavale property, owned by Mr A. C. Burgess has been sold at a satisfactory figure to Messrs F. Wheaton and Co. As all Islanders know this is one of the finest properties on Kangaroo Island and the present owner is to be congratulated on having secured such a fine holding. Mr Burgess intends leaving on Monday week, but still maintains an interest in K.I., and looks forward to its rapid advancement during the next few years.PROPERTY SALE. (1911, April 29). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191640691