Dudley Farmers

Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), Tuesday 14 April 1908, page 6



[XIII.— By our Special Reporter.]

One of the farms adjoining the road from Hog Bay to Cape Willoughby is that of Mr. John Trethewey, of Cuttlefish, five miles from the township. Mr. Trethewey is a typical Cornishman, having been born at St. Austell, Cornwall, in 1843. He landed at Melbourne. Victoria, in 1862, and a few weeks after' his arrival came to South Australia. From Adelaide he went to Kapunda, and thence to Moonta, where he worked in the mines. When the strike occurred in 1863 he proceeded north, and was employed on various stations. At the conclusion of the strike he returned to Moonta, whence be journeyed to Tallisker, near to Cape Jervis. Leadmining at Rapid Bay next received his attention, which a little later was turned to the Blinman Mines. Then the rush to Gympie set in, and carried Mr. Trethewey along in its train. He never reached that place, however; but instead gravitated to Palmer, North Queensland. After a short period there, he moved to the Peake Downs Copper Mine, tried his fortune on several goldfields, and eventually reached Rapid Bay again. He engaged in contracting on the roads in that district until 1877, when he decided to become a primary producer. In company with his father-in-law, the late Mr. Henry Newbold, he acquired about 1,000 acres of land at Cuttlefish for farming purpose, and subsequently secured a considerable area at American River (Sapphiretown*) for grazing. Over 800 acres have been cleared, and approximately 120 acres are cultivated annually. An idea of the difficulty experienced in clearing some of the land may be gleaned from the fact that Mr. Trethewey and his father-in-law had to pay £5 an acre to have the timber knocked down and the stumps grubbed. Mr. Trethewey has been generally favoured with fair crops, and last season reaped between 16 and 18 bushels of barley and oats to the acre. Having early recognised the value of sheep as money makers; he has devoted infinite time and trouble to the development of his flock, which now numbers 2,000 merinos of an excellent stamp. Last season the sheep (exclusive of the lambs) cut an average of from 8 lb to 9lb. of wool, which in England brought between 9½d and 10½d This year. Mr. Trethewey proposes to introduce some Lincoln rams, as he has found that the heavy wool which grows about the heads of the merino hoggets tends to prevent them from seeing their way, and thus often results in their being lost in the scrub.

- Mr. Howard and Others -

Another big farmer and pasturalist is Mr. William Howard, whose homestead is situated about a mile beyond Mr. Trethewey's, on the opposite side of the road. Mr. Howard has been farming and sheep, horse, and cattle breeding all his life. They are his work and recreation, and give him more pleasure than probably any thing else ever could. He is a keen business man, properly appreciates the advantages of the latest methods of farming, and always keeps abreast of the times. In proof of this it is only necessary to mention that be was the first on the island to import, and use a seed drill and is one of the few who possess steam threshing machines. It is easy, therefore, to understand the phenomenal success which has attended his efforts. Born at Enfield, North Adelaide, in 1853, Mr. Howard accompanied his parents to Alma Plains five years later. When 38 years of age he married, and began farming on his own account in Dalkey. Then his eyesight became impaired. The doctor whom he consulted concerning the ailment recommended that he should remove either to Mount Gambier or Kangaroo Island. Mr. Howard fixed upon the latter, and 26 years ago purchased a section of land from Mr. Trethewey. Besides the homestead he has property at Mount Thisby and American River. The policy which he adopts in connection with the opening up of his land is well worth noting and emulating by other producers. The second year after the scrub has been cleared he drills in a little grass seed with the barley or other grain, and as soon an the soil has been thoroughly cleared he leaves it for grazing, meanwhile opening new areas each year. In this way he is gradually converting all his suitable land to profitable agricultural and pastoral service. Last season he replaced 200 acres under crop, and garnered 14 bushels of barley, oats, and wheat right through. His livestock comprises 2,000 crossbred (Merino-Lincoln) sheep, 40 head of draught and light horses, and a similar number of cattle. He believes in almost constantly infusing fresh blood, and with this object imports bulls every year or two.

Among others whose farms may be seen during a drive to the Cape is Mr. Robert Clark, of Antechamber Bay. He has 341 acres freehold and four leasehold scrub sections aggregating 2,191 acres, and combines farming and grazing with gumminy. His sons (Messsrs. H. S and J. Clark) have 1,660 and 561 acres of lease hold respectively. Mr. H. Lashmar of Antechambcr Bay works and runs stock on 507 acres freehold and 3,385 acres leasehold; and Mr. H. Davey of the same place, farms 423 acres held under right of purchase. Mr. J. Fraser, of Cape Willoughby, carries on farming on 307 acres of land.

—An Interesting Personality.-

'The first woman born on Kangaroo Island.' That distinction is claimed by Mrs. Seymour, who resides with a daughter her two-roomed cottage on the hill just above the council hall. There she has been for 31 years, and there she expects and hopes to stay until the end of her days. She is an interesting character in many ways, and paints graphic pictures of the struggles which she endured in the early period of the State's history. To look at her casually one would hardly think that she had passed the allotted span of life. Admittedly her short, curly hair is practically white, and she wears glasses, and does not walk very quickly. Yet her bearing is that of a much younger woman, her eyes flash like sparks from a forge when she speaks of the treatment which has been meted to her from certain quarters, and she laughs with the heartiness of a child at a pantomime when her sense of the humorous or ludicrous— which, by the way, is remarkably keen— is appealed to. Her father was the late 'Nat' Thomas, a whaler, and she was born on September 11, 1833, at Willson's River. When the Cape Willoughby Lighthouse was erected her father and her husband became the keepers. The smoke and oil during the ensuing four years had such a harmful effect upon the health of Mr Thomas, however, that he resolved to relinquish his post. With his son-in-law he took up land at Antechamber Bay and for some time followed the vocation of a sheep farmer. Then Mrs. Seymours' husband died, and as she was unable to see eye to eye with her father she bought 268 acres near to Hog Bay, and began farming in conjunction with her son and daughter. Together they cleared 12 acres and built a house of four rooms. Mrs. Seymour at this period 'slaved' night and day and did all her own ploughing. Not withstanding her heroic efforts, however, she found it impossible to make any marked progress, and finally sold out. She has visited Adelaide only three times. On the first occasion she come ashore at Brighton. Next time she disembarked at Glenelg, and two years ago she obtained her initial view of Port Adelaide. Although a constant sufferer from a broken kneecap, sustained 19 years ago, she maintains a bright and cheerful optimism. "Only once in my life," she assured me, as I wished her goodby, ''have I been truly despondent, and that was many years ago. I always look to the light."

KANGAROO ISLAND. (1908, April 14). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56464879

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* Sapphiretown

Sapphiretown, on Kangaroo Island, is a place that never matured. Some of the survey pegs denoting the boundaries of allotments are still in evidence. The name was derived from the sloop Sapphire, in which Governor Jervois arrived here in October, 1877.

NOMENCLATURE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA. (1908, July 18). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 10. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60311312