Kangaroo Island Farms.
No. XI. VIVONNE PARK.
Mr O. V. Roberts, of Vivonne Park, South Coast, is, to use a familiar Australian term ' shaking things up,' and, on a return trip from Karatta recently a representative of the Courier was afforded an opportunity of inspecting the crops on that well-known property, which was formerly held by Mr E. Burgess, then being known as Eleanor Hut. The homestead is situated close to the Eleanor River where, by the way, some excellent bream fishing may be obtained.
Since Mr Roberts has entered into possession of the property he has had erected a number of substantial outbuildings, comprising stables etc. The holding takes in 1,100 acres, 500 of which are arable. A large portion of the country is under marram grass (planted by Mr Ted Burgess about 6 years ago) and upon this the sheep do well. 600 acres have been cleared, 200 for agricultural purposes. Since he came to Vivonne Park Mr Roberts has cleared 400 acres and is still waging vigorous warfare with scrub. This year he has under crop 80 acres of wheat, 50 acres of barley and 50 of oats. A large portion of this is on river flats. The crops, at time of inspection showed good growth throughout, more particularly 60 acres of Federation arid King's Early wheat growing on ironstone country (typical of thousands of acres to be found on the Island and, at present, under scrub.) This was situated on a tract of rising ground over the road from the homestead, and the luxuriant growth was refreshing to look upon. We doubt if anything on the mainland has made better headway— and this on country similar in every respect to that condemned in such a wholesale fashion by Messrs Verran and Jack son. It afforded every indication of giving Mr Roberts an ample return for labor expended.
On the same stretch of ground, a number of experimental plots had been put in for the Government, and these also showed a healthy growth. Various kinds of fertilisers had been tried here, such, for instance, as I half-cwt nitrate of soda and sulphate of potash, sulphate of potash and super, and nitrate of soda, and sulphate of potash and super, etc. Mr Roberts was also trying experiments on his own account with 3-acre wheat plots of the Baroota Wonder and Marshall's No. 1 varieties. Here, also, a number of. young fruit trees showed good growth, likewise rye grass and trifolium subterranean. To look at all these evidences of what can be done by cultivation and then to step over to exactly similar land adjoining (under scrub) one could hardly credit the fact that the land was similar throughout, and this only goes to prove that, when the country is thoroughly cleared and sweetened it will yield good returns. Self-sown oats and mellilotus on the fringe of the crop showed splendid growth.
Mr Roberts stated that he had never seen roots so plentiful as they are on Kangaroo Island. Below the surface in the scrub country the roots are almost like network, they are so close together. In the opinion a careless system of clearing has done as much to damage the reputation of the Island as anything, and he considers that land which can produce such a phenomenal growth of roots running below,, the surface must necessarily benignly productive. But the cereal must be given.room to. make head way, hence the great value of careful clearing, even if the area, at first, be only small.
The owner of Vivonne Park, although devoting most of his attention to agriculture at present is also taking an interest in the wool industry and has already on his property the nucleus of a flock. He has at present 150 ewes and lambs, and expected the arrival of another 250 from the mainland at no distant date. He stated that, before purchasing Eleanor Hut, he had heard a lot about "coasty" sheep there but, up to date, he had not seen a trace of the disease. He therefore concluded that it was simply an idle report, circulated by some irresponsible person or persons who did not know what they were talking about.
The impression gleaned on leaving Vivonne Park was that Mr Roberts is the owner of what will, ere long, be one of the best paying properties in the district of Seddon. Of course it is conceded that K.I. is not a "poor man's country," unless that man possesses exceptional grit and energy. But a man with moderate capital who is not a drone will do better here ultimately than in other districts where, there are, say, seven or eight good seasons followed by a succession of dry years. And the owner of Vivonne Park is travelling in just the right direction to prove the truth of this. As Mr Richardson (Assistant Director of Agriculture) stated at Kingscote in the course of a lecture some time ago "The more you work the ironstone country the better it will be."Kangaroo Island Farms. (1910, September 17). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 5. R http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191634493