Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 9 July 1910, page 4

Kangaroo Island Farms.


On Tuesday last, owing to the heavy rains and floods the country could not be inspected under favorable conditions, but, in spite of the fact that so much land was under water, a visit to Mr G. G. Ayliffe's property "Arranmore," which one reaches after a ride of several miles beyond Mr Arthur Daw's, proved both interesting and instructive. ' Arranmore' is situated in the Hundreds of Menzies and Haines. The homestead is built on rising ground — high and dry — and since Mr Ayliffe's occupancy of the property he has effected quite a transformation. Near the homestead are commodious stables, erected for the accommodation of ten horses, and other substantial outbuildings. In the garden at the residence a number of young fruit trees show exceedingly healthy growth. Mr Ayliffe secured his property (some 4,800 acres) from a Mr Chenoweth about 7 years ago, and it speaks well for the enterprise and industry he has displayed when it is known that up to that time most of his life had been spent in the Government service — as he was in the Treasury department. "He burnt his bridges behind him,' and plunged straight into the work of reclaiming the land from the grasp of the dense growth of scrub. At the time Mr Ayliffe made his debut as a settler that portion of the estate upon which the homestead is situated was looked upon as utterly useless country. In fact the original holder remarked when he disposed of the property — "This land is no good. I took it up to save fencing." It comprised what, was known at that time as "that worthless broombush country." And, as a matter of fact, when the erstwhile Government official settled on K.I., a number of the older residents smiled and probably thought to use an Australianism that "it was up to him to see a phrenologist."

On Tuesday, however, Mr Ayliffe remarked that 'the best day's work he ever did was to come down to the Island' And this in spite of the floods and the fact that be had about 100 acres of wheat, on fallow land, (which had been looking a perfect picture from the farmer's standpoint, before the heavy rains) all under water and, probably, totally ruined, owing to the flooding of the Cygnet. Therefore, the smile remains, with him. During his first year of occupancy, Mr Ayliffe put in 90 acres of barley at the Bight of the Bay. That gave him a return of 25 bushels to the acre— first crop on new land. After cropping for a while he decided to clear the country away from the coast, so as to obtain healthier conditions for his sheep. This created a change in the scene of operations and brought him up to that section upon which he has made his home. Here he cultivated an area of 50 acres, putting it under wheat. Thirty acres of this gave him 100 bags of grain— from the remaining twenty nothing was gleaned owing to the seed being no good. On the coast he cultivated 120 acres, mostly under wheat and. barley, and some for hay. The barley went 12 bushels and the wheat 14.

The next year another attack was made on the scrub at "Arranmore," and 115.acres cleared. This, together with the 50 acres cultivated the previous year, was put under crop. Wheat was sown in the 50 acre lot and this went 9 bushels. The balance of 115 acres comprised 25 acres of barley and 90 bushels of wheat. The wheat averaged 12 bushels and the barley 9 bushels. The next season the above area was 'cropped' again, 50 acres of oats, cut for hay, gave a return of 15 cwt. per acre, while 115 acres put under wheat realised 10 bushels. Another 25 acres of wheat sown on new land that season gave the satisfactory average of 30 bushels per acre, The following year the 50-acre lot was sown with rye grass and cocksfoot, and to get this to go through the drill Mr Ayliffe put down a quarter of a bushel of rye to the acre, sown on the surface without manure. When the rye was stripped it went 4 bushels to the acre. The same year Mr Ayliffe sowed 60 acres of oats on land that had been previously used for wheat and this 'panned out' at the rate of 15 cwt. of hay to the acre. Twenty acres of barley that year on new land averaged 14 bushels. All this time, of course, the scrub was being gradually levelled, and evidence of this can be seen in the fine scope of cleared country at 'Arramnore.'

Last year, owing to the fact that it was a particularly wet season Mr Ayliffe did not trouble about cultivation at all. He, however, fallowed 100 acres and this year placed the same under wheat. This, as we have previously stated, is now under water. When Mr Ayliffe first went on to 'Arranmore,' the property would have possibly carried about 150 sheep. Since then it has carried 800 sheep for 12 months and at the present time would carry 1,000 head for that period. The estate has been fenced in, and 4,000 acres of it are now sheep-proof. Mr Ayliffe intends finishing the sheep-proof fencing this year and ultimately he will, go in for sheep-farming entirely, for the past few years he has secured 10½d per pound for his wool. "Arranmore" is well supplied with permanent water, and a windmill and troughing has been erected at the Bight of the Bay portion of the property. Here a spring of fresh water was discovered near the house and this ' watered' 20 head of stock all through the summer. One year at the Bight of the Bay. Mr Ayliffe put in 28lbs of potatoes and from this potato 'patch,' he unearthed sufficient tubers to fill twelve large chaff bags. The potatoes were sound and large and, of several varieties sown, the Redskin showed the best development. The soil in which the vegetables were grown is of a dark, sandy nature, and fresh water may be obtained anywhere in the vicinity at a depth of 5 feet. "Arranmore" comprises 1000 acres of this class of land and the balance is the usual useless (?) broombush and narrow-leaf. This last is the land where Mr Ayliffe grew his wheat, getting up to 16 bushels per acre.

"A number of people here" remarked Mr Ayliffe "are somewhat dubious about the cultivation of wheat, as they affirm that the land will not produce grain of a good milling quality. I have never sold wheat at less than top market price, and I think the land on this estate as is more suitable for wheat rather than barley or oats. Results have proved this. But the great object lesson on the estate, as illustrating what can be done with the broombush country, can be at once seen on inspecting 50 acres of the cleared land on the flats below the homestead, where rye grass has been sown. Riding across this stretch of land, in company with Mr Ayliffe, the visitor was impressed by the splendid growth shown. This 50-acre plot looks like excellent dairying country which it undoubtedly is, and there is no doubt that it would easily carry a sheep to the acre, if not more. As a matter of fact, a practical farmer who inspected the 50 acres recently valued it, as a grass paddock, at £5 an acre. The dry stalk showing above the dense coat of green furnished evidence of the height attained during the Spring.

"Now," said Mr Ayliffe, "You can have a look at the same class of country in its wild state." And, riding in amongst the broombrush scrub, the revelation was indeed a striking one. One could hardly imagine that this was of the same order as the land on which the rye grass was thriving. Scrub everywhere and not a blade of grass. "In my opinion," remarked the owner of 'Arranmore,' this land is no better, in fact not as good as those thousands of acres of ironstone country on the Island which have formed the subject of so much controversy — and on account of which there has been decided hesitation in connection with the question of the proposed railway."

We agreed with him. The land did not look as inviting as the ironstone country we have seen, and yet he has proved that it will grow payable crops and make excellent grazing country. Mr Ayliffe has gone in for the right kind of experimental plot, and it is work such as this that will help to build up the Island as a prosperous district. For he has proved, without a doubt, that the proportion of useless (?) land on the Island must be very small indeed — if it really exists.

Kangaroo Island Farms. (1910, July 9). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.

Burning Accident.

A painful accident happened to Mr G. G. Ayliffe, of ' Arranmore,' on Wednesday. While engaged in distilling eucalyptus oil, he went to the furnace to add more fuel, when on opening the door the flames burst out, severely scorching his face, neck and hands. Medical assistance was at once sought and under the care of Dr. Stevenson Mr Ayliffe is progressing favorably.

LOCAL AND GENERAL NEWS. (1913, April 12). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.


Great consternation was caused by the little 15 months' old daughter of Mr and Mrs G. G. Ayliffe, of "Arranmore" on Friday evening of last week. The little girl [Annie Marion Ayliffe] had been prepared for bed, and while the mother was busy getting the evening meal, wandered out into the yard a short distance from the house. Noticing the child was missing Mrs Ayliffe went in search of her, and greatly to her terror found the child grasping a large snake by the tail. The child immediately released the reptile as Mrs Ayliffe called out and the alarm soon brought Mr Ayliffe on the scene who at once killed the snake, which measured about 5ft. in length. Fortunately no harm resulted, beyond a severe fright to both parents.

A DANGEROUS PLAYMATE. (1912, February 24). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

Property Changes.

The well-known South Coast property, Vivonne Park, formerly held by Mr O. V. Roberts, changed hands recently, and is now owned by Messrs Cameron and Forsyth.

— The 'Arranmore' property, at the Bight of the Bay, formerly occupied by Mr G. G. Ayliffe (who removed recently to Wyndford Farm,) has been secured by Mr W. W. Bates of Emu Bay.

LOCAL AND GENERAL NEWS (1920, August 28). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2.

29 July 2021 Kerryn Bickley on Facebook comments:

William Walter passed the property Arranmore to his son Arnold Bates.