Sidney Osborne Smith
A Chat About the Island.
MR S. O. SMITHS IMPRESSIONS
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 all 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. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191630190
A Chat with Mr S. O. Smith.
THE FUTURE OF KANGAROO ISLAND.
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NEW COUNTRY.
THE WHITE ANT'S NEST A FERTILISING AGENCY.
Mr S. O. Smith, of Yalumba, Angaston, in addition to being a keen student of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, is also a practical and observant man, and very little escapes his eye when driving through the country. As a property holder on Kangaroo Island he naturally takes considerable interest in the progress of this part of the world. Within the past fortnight he arrived at Kingscote on a visit of inspection of his farm and took the opportunity of seeing as much of the country as possible during his stay here. A representative of the Courier, in the course of a chat, found Mr Smith more favorably impressed than ever with the possibilities of the Island.
DEVELOPMENTS AT REDLANDS.
"Well," said Mr Smith, "first of all I took a run out to Redlands (S. Smith and Sons' farm) through the Hundred of MacGillivray and noted more developments than I had expected to see effected in the time they have been on the property. There is a fine stretch of country under wheat — King's Early—which variety, I should think, is better adapted for the wet country than most wheats, seeing that it gets away rapidly from the seed and continues growing, What I saw was the first crop on the land and should, at least, at a moderate estimate, average from 10 to 12 bushels. Portions on the higher ground — where well drained — should go a good deal more than that. A farmer friend from Angaston, who accompanied me, was sceptical about its being the first crop and would scarcely credit it until assured of the fact by the manager."
"The barley is a very fair crop — not as good as the wheat, on the whole, but, on the higher ground, as is the case with the wheat, the crop looks first-class."
"The oat crop, at present, is rather short, but, seeing that the best growing period has yet to come, there is every chance of a very good hay crop resulting."
"The firm are knocking down several hundred acres of scrub. Since the ground started drying up they have knocked down 150 acres of it and will continue doing so until harvest, so that, by well within two years of settling there they will have had over 400 acres cleared, about 200 acres of which is under cultivation this year."
"One matter that impressed me as the most hopeful sign in that wet country was the fact that, wherever an anthill appeared, even though on lowing wet ground, cereals of all descriptions made tremendous growth I should say from four to six times as much as that immediately around it. I am taking back with me to the mainland samples of the anthill and the soil just surrounding, for the purpose of having a comparative analysis made. Once we can find the constituents in that anthill the mystery of the starved appearance of the cereals in the wet ground will have disappeared."
AT HAWK'S NEST AND PULCARA.
"Returning from Redlands we called in at Hawk's Nest (Messrs Nelson and Daw's) and, although we did opt have an opportunity of seeing the crop we noticed on some fallow year, which had not been sown this year, a most luxuriant crop of feed."
"We made a halt at Pulcara (Mr Harry Ayris') and there saw on some land (which I had pronounced previously to be as poor as the poorest in MacGillivray) a crop of vetches which, although cut twice for green feed, was again making a splendid growth. Such a result one would not expect to observe anywhere except on the rich land surrounding Angaston and similar districts. Also on the same class of exceedingly poor land — iron-stone shot country — the little horse paddock at the homestead is becoming covered with mellilotus which stands over a foot high in most places. Apparently it is spreading very rapidly as Mr Ayris assured me that there were very few plants in the paddock last year. Amongst this was a very thick growth of ordinary silver or native grass."
"One fact that has impressed Mr Ayris is the necessity for understocking so as to allow the grass to seed and the more rapidly cover his country. As he truly remarked : 'If grass can't seed it can't spread.' This is a fact that should be borne in mind by all settlers in the new country."
CHANGES MADE BY THE TOILERS.
"Leaving Pulcara one could see on all sides great areas of land cleared and under crop. The change in the aspect of the country since my visit there, over two years ago, is remark able. One new settler, viz., Mr H. A. Weber (who hails from Penong) has cleared a very fine stretch of country and his crop is looking well. The whole of Mr Weber's cropped land and that which he is now clearing is composed of fine gradual slopes, which are necessarily well drained, and the appearance of the country altogether impressed me as promising a great future."
"Settlers of Mr Weber's type will be of immense benefit to the Island." [see below - Ed.]
FEED OVER THE BURNT COUNTRY.
"While driving along one thing that impressed me was the amount of spear grass (which, by the way, makes very good feed) that is appearing in the burnt country. I got out of the trap and amongst the burnt scrub pulled out some excellent specimen plants of several grasses and a very fine stool of oats the seed of which had probably been blown in from the roadside.
THROUGH THE WISANGER AND EMU BAY COUNTRY.
"I also made a trip out to Wisanger and Emu Bay. On the road to Wisanger I noticed a magnificent crop at Mr J. N. Davis'. Also, around Emu Bay I saw some crops which would be difficult to beat or even equal on the mainland. On Mr Warnes' fallow at Wisanger there is a fine crop of cereals. At my farm Koorianda (Angaston' s native name) the crops are excellent, exceeding my expectations. The barley, which has turned out better than the wheat or oats is growing where a crop of rape existed the previous year. A large number of sheep were depastured on a 35-acre paddock, and this year's crop was put in there just before the wet weather started. The crop promises to be almost too high to reap and will, in all probability, be bound and headed. Feed is spreading rapidly over the hillsides which were cleared and burnt last summer. "
BIG POSSIBILITIES IN ALMOND-GROWING
"As you know I have previously advocated almond-growing on the Island. My present visit has more than ever impressed me with the possibilities looming ahead in connection with this industry. My trees at Wisanger (which are probably over 20 years old) have a splendid crop. I have been in possession of the property four years and this is the fourth consecutive crop. In addition they are absolutely free from disease. The mainland almond crop is suffering severely from the wet and a disease known as shothole. The future of the almond on the mainland will, therefore, depend on spraying, where as here I did not see any symptoms of a shothole appearing, notwithstanding the higher rainfall."A Chat with Mr S. O. Smith. (1909, October 23). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191633485
About H. A. Weber
(mentioned in the article above)Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 29 August 1908, page 4
A WEST COAST FARMER.
Mr H. A. Weber, of Penong, West Coast, who has acquired a property in the Hundred of MacGillivray, K.I., left per s.s. Karatta on Monday on his return to Eyre's Peninsula. Mr Weber (who is an up-to-date farmer and an energetic man) is selling out his Penong properties and, with his family, will settle on Kangaroo Island about February next.
In 1909 he took up section 53, Hd. MacGillivray, 1,834 acres. He didn't last very long and in 1912 he moved his family to the mainland and took up 1212 acres as Section 26, in the Hundred of Wilson, in Borrika, Feb 1912.
Heinrich August WEBER was born 16 Feb 1860 in Gotha, Saxony, Germany and died 24 May 1927 in Parkside, SA. He married Jane Collard BROWN 20 Feb 1889 in Wandearah, SA. She was born ABT 1869. Other events in the life of Heinrich August WEBER
Immigration: 1883, Fleur de Lis
Occupation: 1909, Postmaster, MacGillivray, K.I.
Property: 1909, section 53, Hd. MacGillivray, H. A. Weber, 1,834 acres
Residence: BET 1909 & 1912, Hd. of MacGillivray, K.I. Children of Heinrich August WEBER and Jane Collard BROWN:
i. Adolph Harry WEBER was born 26 Jan 1890 in Wandearah, SA
ii. Frederick John WEBER was born 03 Jun 1891 in Hd of Cohen, SA
iii. Dora Anne WEBER was born 27 Jun 1893 in Penong, SA
iv. Mabel Alice WEBER was born 21 May 1895 in Penong, SA
v. Edmund Hanns WEBER was born 21 Feb 1897 in Penong, SA
vi. William Eric WEBER was born 07 May 1899 in Penong, SA
vii. Lawrence Peter WEBER was born 15 Dec 1901 in Penong, SA
viii. Ruby Jane WEBER was born 22 Feb 1904 in Penong, SA
ix. Gustav Charles WEBER was born 17 Feb 1910 in Rose Park, SA