Kangaroo Island Farms.
No. X KARATTA.
Leaving Kaiwarra and pushing on to Karatta the road through Scrubland is again pursued. For some little way Solitude (broken only by the twittering of feathered songsters) reigns, and then, the sound of the settler swinging his axe in the scrub falls on the ear. The Bush is a strange place. One follows the track for miles and miles without seeing a soul and then, suddenly, a be-whiskered man, with probably a sheath-knife at his belt, will emerge from a clump of yaccas and hail the passer-by. The bushranger dwells no more in the land, therefore there is no necessity to assume that he is other than a respectable settler who rises his sheath-knife in pursuit of the most peaceful of occupations — probably the pruning of trees. A few minutes' chat — being a medley of John Verran, the railway, Agricultural Expert Jackson, Land Valuer Jones, Roads and Bridges —and with the usual bush farewell "So long, old chap," the 'route' is once more taken.
And now we are descending the brow of a hill and witnessing a scene tersely described to us as ' the prettiest view in Seddon.' Just below us, on the right, is Mr Peter Anderson's nice new residence and away in front the Eleanor River winds its (at present) peaceful way past Eleanor Hut homestead, now the property of Mr O. V. Roberts. [Oscar Valentine Roberts 1882-1969] . Hills on either side — in fact this tiny settlement-in-the-making appears to be completely surrounded by rising country. To the left the hills are bolder in outline than their neighbors, and hide the great Ocean from view — although the booming of breakers can be heard at intervals borne ' on the wings of the wind.' The slopes of these hills are ablaze with the golden beauty of the wattle-blossom which is delicious in its fragrance— so sweet and yet heavy in its perfume as to be almost languorous in its effect on such an individual as the average tired Australian who may be excused for imagining that, instead of being within the confines of a district inhabited by sturdy pioneers, he has reached ' the land of the lotus eaters.' [Get on with it! Ed.]
Leaving Seddon's beauty spot (which, in some of its aspects, might be taken for a small Swiss settlement viewed from the hill-top) another stage of the journey brings the traveller to Harriet River homestead (Mr W. Campbell's) [William John Campbell 1882-1916]. This is also situated down in a valley, on the banks of the Harriet River. It is a pretty place and, as at the Eleanor, there are some nice river flats to be seen. After that there is little to relieve the eye in the way of variety as the scenery is much the same. Mile after mile of scrub on either hand most of which will, some day, have to make way for the plough.
Nightfall— a drizzling rain— and the lights from Karatta homestead shining through the darkness. Entering the gate we received a hearty welcome from Mr A. E. Edwards [Arthur Ernest Edwards b.1881], and a noisy demonstration from the honest watchdog which, not only, to use a Byronic expression 'bays deep-mouthed welcome,' but shows a decided tendency to leave marks of approval on our coat with his muddy paws. However, this can be discounted by the fact that the animal is of a sociable nature. There are times when man's faithful four footed servant exhibits Conservative tendencies and a disposition to ' pull the leg' of the casual stranger who wanders into his yard ' twixt twilight and dawn. Horses are fed and ' bedded' for the night and the hospitality of Mr and Mrs Edwards [Anna Rosalie Clara Edwards nee Klemm 1880-1958] is availed of. Afterwards a short chat, ' lights out,' and sleep.
In the morning, before departure, a stroll is taken about the country in the vicinity of the homestead, Mr Edwards acting as pilot. Mr Edwards, who hails from Owen, bought 1000 acres of the Karatta Estate and entered into possession of same two years ago last April. Half of the property is composed of rich alluvial flats, containing a large quantity of heavy timber. The North East and North-West Karatta Rivers run through the property and, forming a junction down on the flat—a short distance from the homestead—merge here into one stream which is known as the Stunsail Boom River. Those streams give a constant supply of beautiful clear water all the year round — a valuable asset to the property. A great drawback, in the past, has been the overflow, at times, of these rivers, which have flooded the flats, but Mr Edwards is confident that this difficulty can be completely overcome by clearing away the timber, scrub and debris, which line the streams — thereby giving a clear run down to the sea. Of course this will take time, but, when carried out, such a work would enhance the value of the property considerably. Mr Edwards intends erecting an irrigation plant which will be beneficial for his crop of lucerne when the dry season sets in.
Adjoining the homestead there is a small field of Calcutta Cape oats — first crop — which is looking well. On the other side of the streams is another healthy-looking oat crop. Mr Edwards was satisfied with his first year's hay crop on new country— 30 ton from 22 acres. He considers onions and potatoes will do well on the rich river flats. Since his arrival he has cleared 70 acres — no light task — as, in addition to standing timber, there are thousands of tons of dead logs on the flats. In spite of this natural grass grows from 15 to 13 inches high. A field of 40 acres under rape and various grasses had suffered considerably from the flood waters, but a sufficiency of the same survived to show that fodder crops and grasses will thrive on this land. At the present time Mr Edwards runs about 30 head of cattle on his property. The soil, particularly on the flats, is equal to anything on the mainland, and when the initial difficulties have been overcome and proper transport facilities granted Mr Edwards' farm will be one of the most profitable propositions on the Island.Kangaroo Island Farms. (1910, September 3). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191639324
 This well-known property, which is situated on the Stun'sail-boom River, near the South Coast, about 50 miles from Kingscote, was secured by Mr A. E. Edwards [Arthur Ernest Edwards b.1881] in 1908 from Mr F. H. Ayliffe [Frank Hamilton Ayliffe 1871-1943]. At the time of taking up his residence on this property Mr Edwards was faced with many difficulties, as practically the whole of the holding was covered with big gums and the task of clearing was a big order. However by well directed effort 100 acres of river flats are now cleared, and the growth of root crops and green feed which are thereon, would convince detractors of the Island that there is a future before K.I. from potato production alone. In the course of a chat with Mr Edwards, who visited Kingscote during the week, we learn that within a few weeks he expects to ship about 600 bags of potatoes, obtained from 9 acres and does not include small or wormy tubers, which have been used for pig feed. Some of the larger tubers, the grower says, turn the scale at about 5lbs. each. In addition to this a self-sown crop of potatoes has come up amongst a crop of maize and mangels, and promise a fair yield. Experiments in the cultivation of peas and linseed is another proof of the fertility of the soil in these parts, and the crop at the present time, according to a recent visitor is a sight worth seeing. The linseed is up about 18 in. and the peas are nearly the same height and looking first rate. A crop of oats and rye, also shows splendid growth, the latter being about 3 ft. in height, and is being mowed for green feed. Mr Edwards is also a great believer in turnips, and 8 acres in a forward condition promise a good yield ; an additional 7 acres have just been sown.
Another root crop which the owner of his property favors, and one which all class of stock do well on, is mangels, and from 3 acres of these it is estimated that a return of 10 or 12 tons to the acre will be obtained. Maize also does well here and one which will be cultivated to a larger extent by Mr Edwards, who says that it is much relished by stock when fed in the form of chaff. The first cut of lucerne from one acre last season was very good, but before the second crop could be secured the wallabies ate it right back and practically destroyed the plants. This season the fencing has been completed and Mr Edwards is confident that, excellent results will in future be obtained from this fodder.
Pumpkins and marrows of all description thrive, and on the yacca country the vines of these vegetables showed even better and stronger growth than those growing on the flats, but these were destroyed by pigs before they came into bearing. Five dray loads of pumpkins and marrows were taken from a small plot last season to which no attention had been given.
When asked his opinion of the South Coast country generally Mr Edwards said that there was any quantity of rich fertile land along the Stunsail-boom and other rivers that would grow root crops of all descriptions if only worked in a systematic way. It was far more suitable for peas and root crops than for cereals. A great mistake that was made on the Island, Mr Edwards thought, was that of trying to clear too much land at once. If smaller areas were cleared thoroughly and fenced, then cropped and the stock depastured thereon much more good would be derived than by any other method. With sheep and pigs, and the cultivation of potatoes and turnips, a man could make a good living in this part of the Island, Mr Edwards contended.
Sheep alone could keep things going once the place was in going order. He secured a fair clip of wool last season from 270 sheep and 100 lambs which averaged 9d. per pound. Apple and pear trees at Karatta yielded well and it is the owner's intention to try fruit cultivation on the yacca country once be has an area thoroughly cleared. From what he has seen of Tasmanian country Mr Edwards is convinced that the poorer soil of the Island is adapted for fruit growing, and thinks a big future lies before the Island in this direction.
One great trouble that has to be faced by settlers in these parts is that of getting their produce to market, but this difficulty would soon be overcome if sufficient produce were grown to warrant shippers trading to Vivonne Bay. Karatta is about 12 miles from this port and arrangements have been made for the ketch Ina to convey the 600 bags of potatoes harvested this season to market, several tons of which have been secured by storekeepers in the north. We might mention here that excepting harvesting the cost of growing this crop was set down by Mr Edwards at 5/ per acre. The labor needed in planting the sets has been overcome by a funnel-shaped slide being fixed on the back of the plough and through this the sets are deposited in the furrow by the person driving the plough.
Since the advent of Mr Edwards to Karatta, this property offers convincing proof of the worth of the South Coast country and proves conclusively that by hard work, systematic management and clearing the land thoroughly a prosperous future can be assured for the Island.
 Wool sales. ex Ex Chimborazo.Wool Sales. (1881, August 27). South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889), p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91286216
 Taylor Brothers, of Karatta StationPROVINCIAL TELEGRAMS. (1883, October 20). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 28. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160089058
 Taylor Brothers, and business relationship with T .H. Stockdale (of Robe)LAW COURTS. (1884, May 14). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35960028
 Taylor Brothers. Insolvency and charges of fraud (dismissed).LAW COURTS. (1884, September 20). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35967931
In 1880 Stockdale and the Taylor Brothers [William, Roger [?] and Benjamin] had only just purchased the lease from Alfred Charles Burgess and it was at least 12 to 18 months before all the stock had arrived and the Karratta Station building, infrastructure, fences were in place. By mid-1884, the Taylor Brothers were declared insolvent. Robert Stockdale [son of T H Stockdale of the historic “Karatta homestead’, at Robe SE] who built the “Karratta Homestead” to replace the cottage built by Bakers in 1873, had the Karratta Lease. - Geoffrey Chapman
 Boat accident, two drowned, search for Small and Meyers assisted by Mr Harpur, manager Karatta Station.THE BOAT ACCIDENT AT KANGAROO ISLAND. (1885, January 31). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 37. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160734474
[26 Nov 1886] Karatta auctionedAdvertising (1886, October 30). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 21. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160170537
 Mr Hugh Harper [sic], of Karatta Station, Kangaroo Island, found dead in his tent by his son, whilst out on a wallaby snaring expedition.Grape Shot. (1889, September 6). The Port Augusta Dispatch, Newcastle and Flinders Chronicle (SA : 1885 - 1916), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197591889
 Discovery of gemstones at old Karatta, what is now Crown LandTHE REPORTED FIND OF GEMS AT KANGAROO ISLAND. (1897, January 19). Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912), p. 3 (ONE O'CLOCK EDITION). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207887592
 M. C. George Shegog and Jacob Neustadt give notice of applying for gold leases.Advertising (1897, February 16). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54470966 More ... Advertising (1897, February 19). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54481509 More ... Advertising (1897, February 26). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54480917 More ... J. M. Borrow, S. Rosengarten Advertising (1897, March 5). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article34575500
 William Burgess of Karatta Station marries Winnifred Beatrice (Winnie) Williams.Family Notices (1900, January 13). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208842174
 Interest in tin deposits by Simmons.REPORTED TIN DISCOVERY. (1904, January 22). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 1 (4 o'clock). http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208761801
 Wool sale, F. H. Ayliffe.ADELAIDE WOOL SALE. (1906, January 27). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 10. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5002145
KANGAROO ISLAND. THE STUN'SAIL BOOM RIVER
(By our Special Commissioner.)
 The visitor having reached Karatta homestead, now owned by Messrs. Ayliffe and Ewens, finds that he has also arrived at a disconcerting piece of knowledge. And that is that over more or less of the land which has for many miles past been appealing to him as a convincing ground for the advocates of closer settlement, the speculator has acquired an option. The representative of an Adelaide syndicate has busied himself in obtaining by virtue of nominal deposits the right to acquire a considerable number of pastoral leases. One can hardly suppose in these days of closer settlement and the breaking up of large estates—that any Government would authorise the transfer of the bulk of the south western portion of Kangaroo Island into the hands of an Adelaide syndicate for purposes altogether distinct from, philanthropy. The wish of all who have the interests of the island at heart is to see the policy which the Government has recently shown an intention to adopt, by the creation of a new hundred, extended broadcast through the remainder of the island. The genuine new settler can then hope to deal direct with the State as landlord without the intervention of middlemen animated by either business or philanthropic motives.
Relying upon the present Commissioner of Crown Lands exercising his powers of negation, let the visitor refresh his vision by inspecting the immediate environment of the old homestead at Karatta. He will find traces of a former magnificence when, years ago, previous lessees spent hundreds of pounds in fencing and subdividing paddocks, and he will hear legends of some 30,000 to 40,000 sheep having once been turned out in these paddocks. And he will readily realise that a misconception of the stock-carrying capacity of this country, which could result in the complete disappearance of two-thirds of such a flock, and in the sale of the balance at a few pence per head, would bring discredit upon the country. To this and other early failures by men of big ideas and intentions much of the stagnation which for years subsequently, and right up to the present day, characterised Kangaroo Island as a whole has been due. And yet the unfortunate land was not to blame—it had only been misunderstood.
Better land than the valley of the Stun'sail-boom River it would be hard to find, extending, as it does, in its north-east and north-west branches, right away inland to the fall of the watershed just south of the telegraph line. There is beautiful fresh water, save at the mouth of the river—a permanent running stream, fed by innumerable springs along narrow channels from source to outlet.
[the author, in flowery prose, then discusses the history of alluvial gold prospecting in the area.]
... He will find the flat or valley upon which the Karatta homestead stands, extending north and south, a narrow strip of rich soil, carrying high gum trees and a denser covering of native grasses, in extent some 6,000 acres, which have been improved by ringing and clearing to the proverbial sheep to the acre capacity. Altogether it is a picturesque site, with solid-looking buildings, expressive of bygone days, not the least important being a broom-thatched stone stable, with such a pitch to the roof as is accorded to very few churches in these modern days of ecclesiastical architecture. The present owners are only just settling down to a proper appreciation of their new profession, and have had no time, as yet to add to the number of the small flock of from 300 to 40O sheep depasturing thereon. But in a short time they have succeeded in placing before the public a portion of the most unique fleece ever seen in the world—a growth of years, traceable from the early days of lambhood to a quarter century's maturity, which alone could justify such an abnormal growth or staple as 4 ft. 5 in.! In other latitudes on this continent few fleeces survive more than 18 months' growth—nature intervenes and sheds the whole—but such an achievement as the above (seeing is believing: the specimen is on view in Adelaide at Ware's Exchange Hotel) should place the island in a class of its own as a wool-grower, and give added distinction to Karatta as the home of such a product.
[the author, continuing with flowery prose, then examines the country further north skirting Mount Stockdale towards Kangaroo Lagoon. with its imposing stands of timber, "some trees 14 ft. 10 in., in circumference, with a height of from 120 to 130 ft."]KANGAROO ISLAND. (1906, March 3). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5012904