A trip along the North Coast

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 25 September 1926, page 3

A Trip Along the North Coast.

Desiring to visit Cape Borda and the North coast of Kangaroo Island, the writer decided to make the trip under the guidance of the mailman (Mr R. Carter). The distance each way is over 80 miles, and to one who had not ridden a horse for over 20 years, it presented a rather unpleasant picture. I decided to drive to Stokes Bay and ride the rest of the journey. So on a Sunday morning recently we started off, taking the shortest route, namely through the Springs, where we saw a couple of kangaroos feeding. We seemed to be climbing up all the way until we reached the graded road about six from Stokes Bay. This road has baen graded gratia by the members of the Bell family, and it is hoped that it will not be spoilt by heavy gum carting. There is a good road right to Kingscote, via Smiths Bay, and the road has been grubbed through to Middle River and will be graded early next year, making a beautiful motor drive ot over 40 miles, through fine coastal scenery. We arrived at Stokes Bay just before dark, and were kindly received by Mr G. Bell and Miss D. Bell, with whom we spent a pleasant evening. Next morning we left at 6.30 on our ride of over 50 miles, There were many places on the journey where the horses cannot go out of a walk, and more than half way the journey is accomplished in this manner. Mr Carter's horse was a good walker, but unfortunately mine was not, which caused us to lose some time on the trip, The mailman has the road marked out in hours, so many hours to Middle River, Western River, etc., and he keeps to that time. There is a fine piece of graded road about 2½ miles long between Stokes Bay and Middle River, and we made the paoe along that stretch. Approaching the latter place we entered the big timber (Sugar Gums) and then came in sight of one of the homesteads. There are some fine grass flats and wherever the timber has been destroyed the grass is growing. The outcome of interference with nature can be seen on the western side of the river, which has been denuded of trees and shrubs, which held the bank together. Now that the roots are no longer there, the water is washing into the bank, at the narrowest place between the river and the hillside. If nothing is done to prevent this, in a few years' time a cutting will have to be made to get around this spot. Perhaps a few stakes driven in, and boughs and other debris placed behind them might stay the hand of nature. The old homestead at Middle River is placed in a pretty situation overlooking the sea. There is a nice fruit garden there and it is sheltered by Sheoaks. We were now faced with the climb up Constitution Hill, up which we led our horses, and it was a question when we reached the top, who was the most winded me or the horses. Looking down the hill one can quite understand, when driving down it, a tree is tied on to the dray or trap. Should the vehicle get out of control, it would either roll down into one of the deep gullies or go straight over the cliffs into the sea. From the top of the hill toward Western River the road winds its way through wooded country, with scenery equal to any in the Adelaide Hills, The wattles were in bloom as well as many other shrubs, and the ground looked like a many coloured carpet, pink, red and blue wild flowers making a beautiful picture. Several varieties of parrots were seen, white cockatoos and black macaws screeched in the trees and in the bushes could be heard the notes of many birds, particularly the grey thrush.

A Trip Along the North Coast. (1926, September 25). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191549216

As we approached Western River we began a long decent, which was very steep and we preferred to gel off and walk, so as to ease the horses. We were welcomed by Mrs S. Sheridan, who had a tasty dinner waiting for us, to which we did full justice after we had attended to the needs of our horses. Forty minutes spell and we led them off again and started to climb the cutting up the hill on the western side of the valley. The scenery was magnificent, the hills towering up on both sides, hundreds of feet crowned by tall sugar gums. The track up the cutting is very steep and in a bad state of repair. Is is the roughest piece of road that we travelled over. There have been several landslips which have encroached on to the roadway, bringing a number of large stones down with them, besides which the road is washed out in places. A few pounds spent there would make the road safe. This is the only way by which Cape Borda can be approached by motor during .the winter. Personally I would not like to ride up or down this track, either in a trap or motor car, I would prefer to walk. A fine woodland soene was disclosed when we looked down the gully from above the Silver-lead mine. The nature of the country near the mine appeared to be of a quartzite formation. For the next few miles we travelled along the range until we reached the highest point by climbing a hill which Mr Carter called Red Hill. On either side of the spur until we reached this point, the sides of the range seemed to fall away nearly perpendicular for several hundred feet. I found some white and pink heather growing on the roadside, the first that I have seen on K.I. From the top of Red Hill the coast could be seen stretching away westward, and when Mr Carter informed me that Cape Borda was about 15 miles past the farthest point in sight, I wondered whether we would arrive there at the time he had stated, Over the top of the hill could be seen a large eagle soaring in the air. From this point the track turns inland toward telegraph line and we sooq passed by the track leading down io Snug Cove. The mailman does not call there now. At one time the route was that way, and thence along the coast to Borda. It is impassable now, bridges are either burnt or washed away and timber has fallen across the track. The fine scenery is now left behind, and we entered on the most uninteresting part of our journey. We came out on the telegraph line road about 22 miles from Cape Borda, and I was told that we would arrive there in less than three and a half hours. I was beginning to feel tired, the un-interesting scrub seemed to depress one. The horse appeared to wish that the trip was over too, for she seemed to be tiring. We passed the Fauna and Flora notice board, 16 miles to Borda it read, and we were were making good time. A few miles further on we reached the cres! of a rise, and the western end came into view. I thought that it would take several hours to get there, but the track was now slightly down hill and the horses seemed to know that we were approaching the end of our journey, for they appeared to freshen up again. We passed through the beautiful Ravine just after sunset. It is 7 miles from Borda and a very pretty spot. Great sugar gums, many of them 70 to a 100 feat high, towered over us, acacia and other wattles were in bloom, while around the bridge, bracken and other ferns were growing in profusion. Night began to draw near, and it was dark when we passed through the big timber near the little cemetery at gallop, the horses appearing to be as anxious as we were to reach the end of the journey. At 7.30 p.m. we arrived alongside the Cape Borda lighthouse and I was glad to get down out of the saddle, feeling a bit stiff, but not as much as I had anticipated. After attending to the horses, we were met and welcomed by the Headkeeper (Mr P. Turner) and his wife, and we were soon feeling quite at home with them. From Cape Borda the lights could be seen flashing from light-houses at Althorpes, Wedge and the Neptune Islands. Standing looking out over the sea, I thought what lonely lives these people have to live and the disabilities under which they labor, and the distance from help when sickness enters their homes. The little cemetery we had passed bore silent witness of this. Next morning I had the pleasure of meeting another of the keepers (Mr Hurrell) who has been at Borda for about six years. After a substantial break fast we said good-bye to our kind host and hostess, and started on the return journey. We turned off the road about four miles from Borda, and looked down on the landing place, called Harvey's Return. At this place some months ago, several men were drowned while attempting to land stores. Back along the same track we travelled, the monotony relieved by Mr Carter pointing out places of interest in sight. Just after mid day we again entered the heavy timber, and reached Western River about 1 p m. After feeding the horses we again accepted hospitality at the hands of Mrs Sheridan. At 2 p.m. we started to climb the hill out of the valley, leading the horses up the ascent. It is a long drag to the top for both man and horse. The road winds in and out of the timber for a couple of miles, then across a creek and up another hill, which takes the mind off the distance that has to be travelled. The bridge over one creek was in a bad condition, but we understand that arrangements have been made to repair it. Some of the tracks are badly washed out and need some repairs. As the District Council are asking for the road to be made from Rocky River to Cape Borda, the need of attention to the North Coast road should not be lost sight of. It is the show place at this end of the Island, and if it is possible the road should follow the coast from West-ern River on past Snug Cove and the DeMole River to Borda. Its scenic beauty would be a great at-traction to tourists. There is good bream fishing in some of the rivers, and when weather permits, good fishing off the coast. Middle River was passed at 6 p.m., and we arrived at Stokes Bay about 8 p.m., when the journey per saddle was completed. Next morning we set off for Kingscote behind the horse, arriving home early in the afternoon. We noted several things during the trip. The first was, the hospitality freely offered to travellers by the folk along the route, Also that people who live so far out from the town, deserve all the consideration possible from the powers that be, and the first consideration should be to try and provide a good road for them to cart their goods over. Every year thousands of sugar gums will have to be destroyed to allow the grass to grow, thereby enabling settlers to carry more sheep on their holdings, and we would suggest that they leave a few of these along the roadside, so as not to spoil all the natural beauties of their surroundings.

A Trip Along the North Coast. (1926, October 2). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191555546