Sidney Osborne Smith

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 1 February 1908, page 5

A Chat About the Island.


Mr S. O. Smith, of Angaston, who has acquired a substantial interest in Kangaroo Island, was a recent visitor here. On Thursday of last week Mr Smith (in company with two brothers and a friend) arrived at Kingscote per s.s. Karatta and during a short stay they made the most of their time and had a look at some of the back country. In the course of a chat with Mr Smith we induced him to talk about what he had seen and the impressions he had formed.

"Well, to begin at the beginning," said Mr Smith, "first of all we went out to inspect the block in the Hundred of MacGillivray recently acquired by my brothers. We drove through a very large portion of MacGillivray and saw some promising country. On the way we stopped at Mr H. Ayris', Pulcara, and inspected his patch of onions which aill agreed were the finest both in quality and heaviness of crop that we have ever seen — 12 bags having been taken from an area, of 10½ square yards. I believe that the crop that has to be dug will be even heavier in yield, as it gives promise of going at least 20 tons to the acre. I scraped away the surface soil between the rows and was surprised to find that it was merely grey sand about 3 inches deep with a yellow clay subsoil similar to thousands of acres of land that I had already seen on the Island and inferior to much of the land in the Hundred of MacGillivray.

"From Mr Ayris' we went on to Hawk's Nest through W. G. Smith's block No. 18 [Walter Grandy Smith] and found a large tract of country of a grey sandy nature with a clay subsoil — very well adapted to all sorts of cereal growing and easily cleared. Further on we reached undulating country with good red sand ridges — limestone subsoil.

"Just at the comer of the block adjoining Hawk's Nest we found a small rush grown basin with a beautiful spring of fresh water, adjoining which numerous kangaroo footprints were plainly visible. This class of country continued to Hawk's Nest where a surprise awaited us in the shape of a huge clearing of 600 acres of a beautiful rich red loam mixed with clay and limestone outcrops. One portion of this, which had been cut for hay, showed a splendid stubble giving a probable crop of a ton and a half of oaten hay to the acre. In the wheat stubble adjoining we noticed some very fine plants of lucerne in bloom and found on enquiry that the proprietor (Mr A. H. Daw) had carried some lucerne seed in his pocket and scattered it while ploughing.

"Making our way towards the homestead we went through Mr Daw's newly planted orchard and potato patch and unearthed some splendid specimens of that tuber. After an early tea we had a further look over the property and found, wherever, we went, good soil. We also, by the way, did a little quail shooting.

"Next morning we started out early to look at Murray's Lagoon, which should be called Murray's Lake, as it is in extent about 9 miles by 5. It presented, in the early morning, a magnificent sight. The next day we set off to inspect Block 28 in the Hundred of MacGillivray which I have recently taken up and which is within two miles of Nepean Bay. We found 400 to 500 acres of nice, sandy soil, with good, well-drained slopes extending along the hills which are so distinctly seen from Kingscote. We found that 2000 acres was a big stretch of country to ride over and inspect. Extending up the hillsides there are numerous shallow ravines affording a magnificent water catchment which would enable hundreds of acres of land on the lower levels to be irrigated and to grow green fodder crops. The ground has a splendid holding capacity and large drains could be easily constructed. The side of this country is covered with small white quartz and stunted bush, but as we got on to the top of the hill a fine stretch of about 700 or 800 acres containing very good land, spread out before us. I might say, in effect, that I am more than satisfied with my block."

At Wisanger Mr Smith has an improved farm of 425 acres, from portion of which this year he secured two tons of wheat and hay to the acre.. This particular stretch of land had been cropped for 9 years past. Last year's crop on the same land went 2½ tons and the previous year over 3 tons. Eighty acres are in fallow this year and this Mr Smith expects to produce at least 3 tons to the acre, with anything like a decent season. Portion of the property runs up and terminates in a table-land which overlooks three different bays and from which Yorke's Peninsula and Cape Jervis light are plainly visible. Spread out below are numerous lagoons which, in conjunction with the bays extending into the land, form a beautiful spectacle. There are some very fine specimens of mallee — both narrow and broadleaf — as well as sugar gums, growing all the way up the hillsides, the soil of which is a loose, friable clay. These hillsides carry splendid grass and the gullies (which are really deep ravines with permanent water) afford good shelter for stock, particularly sheep. On the homestead Mr Smith has some almond trees of from 15 to 20 years of age which are carrying a very heavy crop of nuts. Mr Smith is of opinion that an almond plantation on that class of country, with a limestone subsoil, would be a very payable venture. Mr Smith remarked that although he had received several offers and inquiries for the property he did not feel ' inclined to quit.' "You see," he added, "having country which will grow 40 or 50 bushels of barley to the acre — worth as the grain was this year up to 5/6 per bushel— one is naturally loath to part with it."

When asked his opinion of Island prospects generally Mr Smith contented himself by saying "My opinion is such that I do not intend parting with my property and, in all probability, will return here in the future to take up my residence." This, from one who hails from the rich Angaston district, speaks volumes.

A Chat About the Island. (1908, February 1). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5.