Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 11 February 1911, page 5

Kangaroo Island Farms.


Situated some twenty-three miles from Kingscote, in the Hundred of MacGillivray, is Redlands, the property of Messrs S. Smith and Son. Comprising over 2000 acres it embraces 600 acres of rich red chocolate loam (from which the farm derives its name) the balance being grey sandy soil and ironstone. A representative of the Courier, on Tuesday last, paid a visit to Redlands, and was very agreeably impressed with the indications of progress in evidence.

The country varies, being undulating to some extent, and in other places it is interspersed with stretches of flats. A comfortable homestead has been erected, and nearby there is a chaff-house, and stables. The last-named, however, are only temporary, as it is the intention of the manager of Redlands (Mr A. Burfitt) to erect commodious stone stables capable of accommodating twelve horses, at no distant date. From the homestead a good view can be obtained of the cleared country which will, in time, without doubt reward the enterprising firm of Smith and Son and their energetic manager with rich returns.

It is just three years ago to-day since Mr Burfitt landed on Kangaroo Island. As a man of considerable experience and extensive practical knowledge he was selected by the owners of Redlands to form one of the contingent of MacGillivray pioneers— a body of men which — although small — is made up of determined spirits who are not disheartened simply because they do not secure big returns from scrub country which has not yet thoroughly undergone the sweetening process. Redlands was, at that time, simply a mass of scrub. After he had inspected the block Mr Burfitt arrived at the conclusion that, with a little working up, the land would grow wheat, and the more he saw of it the greater became his conviction that Redlands was a good property. He erected the homestead and no time was lost in the direction of clearing operations. Having knocked down 40 acres of scrub, the area thus cleared was sown with wheat and oats. Seven acres out for hay averaged half a ton per acre; on account of feed having to be carted; the bullocks were turned off on the balance of the crop. Scrub-rolling was then commenced, and an area of 200 acres was dealt with for the next season. This was put under wheat and barley. As a result 30 tons of hay was taken off and the wheat gave an average of three bags per acre. After harvest scrub-rolling was continued and another 300 acres was knocked down. This was last year. An area of 220 acres was then put in, but owing to the severe floods which created havoc amongst the farmers last season only 50 tons of bay was taken off, the wheat averaging 6 bushels. Mr Burfitt estimates that, given a fair average season, he would have realised three bags of grain per acre. The Big Timber Greek 'came down a banker' and the overflow submerged the greater portion of the 220 acres of crop— also a trial plot of ten acres of peas.

In the course of a stroll over the cleared land, Mr Burfitt piloted the visitor to a fine scope of grey sandy soil of which he had sown some 30 acres of cocksfoot and perennial rye grasses, which were looking remarkably well. The manager of Redlands, who purposes placing another area of 100 acres under grasses this year, believes that the cocksfoot and perennial rye varieties are the most suitable for the property, and further considers that the grey sandy soil is better adapted for the cultivation of grasses than the richer red lands. He intends putting under crop this year 300 acres of wheat, barley and oats. With a fair season he expects to realise a return of a thousand bags. He also proposes going in for the cultivation of lucerne, peas, potatoes and onions. Pig-breeding which, be believes, will be a very payable industry on the farm, will also command his attention, and later on sheep will be introduced.

A praise-worthy and common-sense under-taking is at present "on the cards," viz., the cutting of a channel 20 ft. wide and three quarters of a mile long which will deal with the overflow from the Big Timber Creek and will, Mr Burlitt confidently believes, reclaim 800 acres of land. Although he has only been three years on the property Mr Burfitt has carved the result of his energy in Scrubland to the extent of from 600 to 700 acres of cleared land, 70 acres of which, at the time of our visit, had been ploughed in readiness for the drill. Mr Burfitt is ' early in the field' this season, two ploughs being now at work. Where the narrowleaf is much in evidence the land will be cross-ploughed so that it may have a better chance. He finds the narrow leaf a groat stumbling-block the way of successful agriculture, as it is so difficult to get the roots out; moreover, in the opinion of the manager of Redlands, this native of the soil absorbs more nourishment from the land than any other specimen of plant life on K.I. He believes that when this denizen of the scrub is exterminated on the property the same land will give a return of from 40 to 50 bushels per acre.

When Mr W. G. Smith visited the Island recently he tried an experiment with an explosive which successfully made a clean sweep of the roots of the narrowleaf to which it was applied. Should the explosive be procurable at a cheap rate this would seem to be a very drastic and suitable method of dealing with the shrub. Mr Burfitt, who is a great believer in fallowing, also considers that the country at Redlands requires an application of lime. He has been using, up to date, in the way of fertilizers, wheat manure, mineral super and bone super, but has not been thoroughly satisfied with the results. He found the wheat manure to be the most suitable, but is of opinion that too much of the sour super mixed with the sour soil must, naturally, have a bad effect. Previously he had been treating the soil at the rate of 150 lbs of super to the acre. This year be will apply 50 lbs per acre. For experimental purposes he will try lime with the super, and lime by itself. Up to date he has cultivated the red lands and the ironstone country.

Fruit trees, Mr Burfitt considers, will do well at Redlands and, judging by the healthy appearance of those seen on the occasion of our visit, his assumption is perfectly justifiable. He thinks be will go in most extensively for almond-growing and will also plant vines. In addition to other improvements to be effected this year three or four miles of fencing will be erected io preparation for the sheep, There are several wells on the property and good water can be obtained anywhere within the boundaries of Redlands by sinking to a depth of from 4ft to 5ft. At the time of our visit there was more than enough of the precious fluid, as, owing to the rains in the early part of the week, over 2 inches had been registered on the farm. As a practical farmer he considers that the statement sometimes made on the Island that 12 bushels will not pay, is ridiculous ; in his opinion an average of from 8 to 10 bushels will return a good profit. He also thinks the Island country is admirably adapted for the growth of such grasses as perennial rye and Italian rye.

He is a strong advocate of the proposed railway and thinks it is time the Government did something towards helping the men who are doing so much to develop the scrub country. We believe that Redlands possesses all those qualifications which are necessary in the evolving of a fine property, and, for mixed farming, it will he a splendid proposition. Messrs S. Smith and Son have shown their faith in the district, by spending no inconsiderable amount of capital for the purpose of gaining the desired end, and in Mr Burfitt they have a manager who is admirably suited for the arduous work of pioneering.

Kangaroo Island Farms. (1911, February 11). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.

Development Work at Redlands Farm.

A correspondent writes from Redlands Farm, under date May 27, as follows :— ' Mr Burfitt, the manager at Redlands, has completed seeding operations. He has 220 acres under crop — all showing up — some of which is on ironstone country. He believes the ironstone country, if given fair treatment, will yield good returns. The crop consists principally of wheat, and there is also barley, oats and peas. From the 25th to the 27th May, 308 points of rain fell here.'

DEVELOPMENT WORK AT REDLANDS FARM. (1910, June 11). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.


The New Selection

On a farm called Redlands, not far from Kingscote,
Although a fair distance, not too remote,
There dwells two young fellows who are bush whacking to-day
To open this farm up and make things pay.
They started by housebuilding a job they've completed,
And now enjoy comfort which is well needed.
On the land they have started the bushes to beat
By grubbing and cutting the roots out so neat
When some fifty acres are grubbed out and done
Their purpose it is the farm then to run
For a firm that is well-known in the State,
That deals in preserves and things up-to-date.
So when strangers come round this country to visit
This farm then of Redlands, I wonder where is it?
There's the Hawk's Nest and Ayris' our neighbours so near,
Have bested these bushes, though cost may be dear,
And to-day from their lands a profit comes yearly
Which causes them both to work on cheerily.
The land has proved itself really a grower,
By the produce it yields for the hard striving sower.
With onions our Ayris could supply the great race,
With a sample he has grown out at his place.
The Hawk's Nest with barley put up a good score
Had the seasons been perfect there would have been more,
So you see by plodding and plenty of work,
That the ground is alright against all the talk.
So in a month or two hence when passing this way,
Look up this farm Redlands which is going to pay.


ORIGINAL POETRY (1908, May 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 7.

Wheat In MacGillivray.

Mr W. G. Smith estimates that his wheat crop at 'Redlands farm, Hundred of MacGillivray (grown on new land) will average 12 bushels.

WHEAT IN MACGILLIVRAY. (1908, November 28). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

A MacGillivray Farm.

The manager (Mr A. Burfitt) has sent us the following report of progress at Redlands Farm, under date August 14 : — 'Just a line or two to let you know how things are going at Red lands. We have had fine weather for the past week. My crop is looking well, and that on the ironstone country is tip-top. Some of the crop is standing from 18in. to 2ft. in height. The floods damaged 10 acres of peas and portion of the main crop but, if all goes well from now we should have fair returns. I would like some mainlanders to see how the crop has survived the wet weather, If I had not sown early the outlook would not be so promising. I am a great believer in early crops for K. I. and think the ironstone land is going to be good country for wheat growing — they can say what they like about it. ' I have some grass under water doing well and wheat that has been covered with water three times, and yet looking healthy. Had it not been sown early I should have had no crop at all here. Of course you will get an exceptional year when the late sown crops turn out fairly, but, as a rule, I do not believe in being later than the end of May. This has been my experience after spending all my life in the occupation of farming. ' I would like to add that, in my opinion, we must have a railway,'

A MacGillivray Farm. (1910, August 20). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.

Fine Samples of Wheat and Grasses from MacGillivray.

Mr A. Burfitt, manager of Smith Bros. Redlands Farm, MacGillivray, has left at this office some splendid samples of wheat and grasses grown on the farm. John Verran has pronounced judgment against K.I., and those who ' toady' to the Premier of South Australia have joined in the cry. Therefore the samples in question are particularly pleasing to us. The samples include : Wheat— King's Early, grown on ironstone country, and the same variety grown on sandy land and three times covered with water, and Huguenot on limestone ; Grasses — Cocksfoot, phalaris com mutata, Italian rye and perrenial rye. The wheat samples show a growth ranging from 3ft. 6in. to 4ft. in height The grasses were completely covered with water during the floods. Mr Burfitt has just finished drilling in 20 acres of grass on the wet country, and is highly pleased with the general progress of the farm up to date.

FINE SAMPLES OF WHEAT AND GRASSES PROM MAcGILLIVRAY. (1910, October 22). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

Wind and Rain.

A correspondent writing from Redlands Farm, states that on Saturday and Sunday last the wind blew very severely and did much damage to sheds and stables, as well as removing roofs from hay sheds. Rain accompanied the wind at intervals, and something like two inches fell in the two days. Although the wind was not appreciated, the rain was. The ground is now in good order, and shortly ploughing will be general, al though our correspondent informs us be has started. Grass is also showing, and this year there should be early feed.

WIND AND RAIN. (1912, March 16). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

Summer Green Feed

We were informed the other day that on Mr A. Burfitt's property, at Redlands he had English grasses growing all through the past summer, and that they have proved an excellent green feed for horses. They chiefly comprise cocksfoot clover and perennial rye. It is thought more of these grasses should be cultivated, as during the dry months there is nothing like a little green fodder for animals, and the Island soil is quite capable of producing them.

SUMMER GREEN FEED. (1912, May 18). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.

Orange Blossom.


On Thursday afternoon wedding bells rang at the residence of Mr Henry Birrell, Kingscote, when his daughter, Miss Edith Birrell, was united in the bonds of matrimony to Mr Alfred Burfitt, manager of Redlands Farm. The bride, who was becomingly dressed, the costume including veil and orange blossom, was given away by her father, and the marriage service was conducted by the Rev. A. S. Broadbent, minister in charge of the Methodist circuit on Kangaroo Island. A number of relatives and friends attended the wedding. At 6 p.m. a large company sat down to dinner and the toast of the newly-wedded couple joyously honored. The festivities closed late with the singing of ''Auld Lang Syne.''

Orange Blossom. (1912, August 31). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.

Mrs and Mrs H. Birrell, who have resided in Kingscote for some years, left on Monday to take up their residence on the mainland. Mr and Mrs T. Birrell accompanied them.

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 13 November 1915, page 4

Descendants of :

Henry Rudolph Wigley BIRRELL

For sources and more details, click here

Generation 1

1. Henry Rudolph Wigley BIRRELL was born 27 Apr 1846 in Adelaide, SA and died 28 May 1936 in Adelaide, SA. He married Lucy Ann GOULD 10 May 1877 in Beltana Station, SA. She was born ABT 1845 and died 18 Aug 1922 in Kilkenny, SA.

Other events in the life of Henry Rudolph Wigley BIRRELL
Occupation: 1915, Ranger, Kingscote, KI

Children of Henry Rudolph Wigley BIRRELL and Lucy Ann GOULD:
i. Francis Maud BIRRELL was born 16 Mar 1878 in Blinman, SA
ii. 2. Henry BIRRELL was born 16 May 1880 in Port Augusta, SA and died 16 Apr 1943 in Adelaide, SA
iii. Walter BIRRELL was born 29 Jul 1881 in Port Augusta, SA and died 16 Dec 1881 in Beltana, SA
iv. Arthur BIRRELL was born 29 Aug 1882 in Windy Creek, SA and died 21 Oct 1947 in Adelaide, SA
v. 3. Thomas BIRRELL was born 29 Apr 1884 in Terowie, SA and died 16 Jan 1969 in Magill, SA
vi. Charles BIRRELL was born 28 Nov 1885 in Terowie, SA
vii. 4. James BIRRELL was born 16 Nov 1887 in Terowie, SA and died 25 Feb 1962 in Mount Gambier, SA
viii. Fred BIRRELL was born 15 Jul 1890 in Parkside, SA and died 09 Dec 1890 in Parkside, SA
ix. 5. Edith BIRRELL was born 04 Mar 1892 in Goodwood, SA and died 1961 in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia

Generation 2

2. Henry BIRRELL was born 16 May 1880 in Port Augusta, SA and died 16 Apr 1943 in Adelaide, SA. He married Emma Priscilla CLOY 28 Sep 1903 in Adelaide, SA. She was born 28 May 1881 in Rhynie, SA and died 20 May 1969 in Adelaide, SA.

Children of Henry BIRRELL and Emma Priscilla CLOY:
i. Douglas Henry BIRRELL was born 17 Feb 1906 in Rose Park, SA and died 30 Apr 1906 in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, SA

3. Thomas BIRRELL was born 29 Apr 1884 in Terowie, SA and died 16 Jan 1969 in Magill, SA. He married Margaret Ellen GASTON 01 Jun 1913 in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, SA. She was born 16 Dec 1874 in Blinman, SA and died 12 Nov 1947 in Adelaide, SA, daughter of Alfred GASTON.

Other events in the life of Thomas BIRRELL
Military: WW1 3555
Residence: 1913, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island, SA

Children of Thomas BIRRELL and Margaret Ellen GASTON:
i. Walter Alfred BIRRELL was born 12 May 1915 in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, SA and died 01 May 1941 in Libya
ii. Stillborn male BIRRELL was born 1916 in Dudley, Kangaroo Island and died 1916 in Dudley, Kangaroo Island

4. James BIRRELL was born 16 Nov 1887 in Terowie, SA and died 25 Feb 1962 in Mount Gambier, SA. He married Emilie Minna MULLER 09 Nov 1912 in Mount Gambier, SA. She was born ABT 1889 and died 14 Jun 1970 in Mount Gambier, SA.

5. Edith BIRRELL was born 04 Mar 1892 in Goodwood, SA and died 1961 in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. She married Alfred William BURFITT 29 Aug 1912 in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, SA. He was born 26 Aug 1876 in Noarlunga, SA and died 02 Sep 1967 in Renmark, SA, son of Samuel BURFITT and Mary Ann MATTHEWS.

Children of Edith BIRRELL and Alfred William BURFITT:
i. Henry Rudolph BURFITT was born 26 Oct 1913 in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, SA and died 12 Mar 1967 in Daw Park, SA
ii. Lucy Alice BURFITT was born 14 Oct 1915 in Hummock Hill, SA
iii. Edith May BURFITT was born 30 May 1921 in Loxton, SA. She married John Benjamin SHERIDAN. He was born 28 May 1918 in Port Augusta West, SA and died 16 Sep 1951 in Port Augusta, SA.
iv. Percy (Raymond) BURFITT was born 23 Jun 1924 in Port Broughton, SA
v. Mary Ann BURFITT was born 04 Jul 1927 in Bowden, SA

Last updated : 13 Sep 2021

Descendants of : Alfred William BURFITT