What have they done?

Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), Wednesday 11 March 1908, page 7



[VI.—By our Special Reporter.]

In view ot the probability that the earliest agricultural work on Kangaroo Island was performed in the Hundred of Menzies, it is only meet that any remarks concerning individual efforts toward the development of the industry should relate to residents therein. One of these is Mr. Arthur Daw (Chairman of the Kingscote District Council whose restless energy reminds one of the ceaseless movement of the sea. When I called at his pretty home at Sunnyside, about five miles from Kingscote, on the Hog Bays road, he was suffering severely from pains which could not be definitely diagnosed.

—Confident of the Future.—

His father (Mr. J. W. Daw), who has long since passed the allotted span, and has been in poor health for some time, arrived in South Australia with his wife in the ship Winchester in 1838. Fourty-seven years ago they decided to settle on Kangaroo Island, and engaged in pastoral pursuits on the border of Nepean Bay. After having been there for three or four years, Mr. Daw, sen., removed to Cygnet River. When 22 years of age Mr. Arthur Daw, who was born in Adelaide, left the paternal roof, and launched out on his own account as a farmer, on land between Kingscote and Brownlow. Anxious to improve his position, he secured an auctioneer's licence, and engaged also in contracting and odd work. In 1891 he married the youngest daughter of the late Mr. Charles Calnan— who arrived in the ship Africaine about the same time as Mr. Daw's father— and a little later sold everything except his farm and removed to Adelaide. There he acted as a commission agent and auctioneer for three years, at the end of which, owing to the fact that the climate did not agree with his faniily, he returned to his farm. Twelve months later he established a boarding house, which he conducted for five years. About the middle of 1905 he purchased Sunnyside (comprising 1,600 acres), one of the prettiest holdings in the hundred, where he carries on sheep farming. Concerning his land, and the marvellous manner in which it has increased in value, a romantic story could be written. For the purposes of this sketch, however, it is sufficient to state that he owned the block on which the Ozone Hotel stands, has recently erected several first-class business premises in the immediate vicinity, and has disposed of various building sites in the heart of the town. He is deeply interested in the firewood, eucalyptus oil, and yacca gum industries, and is confident that at last the island is beginning to realize its destiny.

—Modern Principles.—

A model farm near to Kingscote on the Wisanger road is that conducted by Mr. J. N. Davis, on behalf of his aunt, Mrs. Price, a dear old lady, whose appreciation of her nephew could not be exceeded. About six years ago Mr. Davis came to South Australia from the United states and took charge of the Highgrove Estate, which, he has transformed from a rather 'wild' and neglected property into one of the finest on the island. The land consists of 5,000; acres, of which 2,000 are clear and 500 under cultivation. Full of energy, methodical, and modern to a degree, Mr. Davis works on scientific lines, and has everything about the farm absolutely spick and span, indeed, he is just that kind of man who makes two or three blades of grass grow; where another person could produce only one, if any. As an experimentalist, he ranks second to no other man on the island, and has enlightened many regarding the suitableness of the soil for the cultivation of fodder grasses. He has succeeded splendidly with sainfoin (for summer feed), rye grass, Yorkshire fog, and couch grass (on sandy plots). Horsebreeding for farming purposes has been one of his hobbies. For the better accommodation and comfort of his animals he recently erected substantial stables, which face the main road, and in appearance are far superior to scores of the houses which pioneer selectors occupy. As a member of the Kingscote District Council Mr. Davis has assisted to effect numerous desirable improvements to the town and the roads. His crops last season were fairly satisfactory; but, as in the case of most others, they suffered through the unsatis factory climatic conditions.

—An Old Selector.—

Nobody else is better known on Kangaroo Island and few have been here longer, than Mr. Richard Chapman, of Point Marsden. He was born at Port Adelaide in 1849, and reached Kangaroo Island with his parents in 1856. For some years the family resided at Antechamber Bay- whence they removed to Point Marsden (or North Cape as it is occasionally known), where Mr. Chapman's father had taken up a pastoral lease of 14 square miles. When the hundred was cut up into blocks, Mr Chapman (since deceased) puchased 2,100 acres from the Government, and secured 400 acres under lease. On these properties his tireless son has won his way to considerable prosperity. On the day of my visit to the Station, Mrs. Chapman was seriously ill, and therefore my chat with her husband was short. Still, it was sufficiently long for me to ascertain that in addition to being the "Sheep King" of the island—though he does not give himself the title— Mr. Chapman has prosecuted agricultural pursuits with remarkable ability and determination. His principal crops have been of barley and wheat, but oats have also had attention. An idea of the rich quality of some of his land, which is composed chiefly of black sand, loam, and limestone, may be gathered from the fact that prior to the introduction of the artificial manures he frequently reaped 60 bushels of barley to the acre. Over 800 acres of his freehold are cleared, and a large proportion of the remainder of the lands provides fine grazing for sheep, horses, and cattle. Of cattle Mr. Chapman possesses about 200. During recent years he has devoted increasing time and care to sheepraaising. He and his son William, who has a property adjoining own between 3,000 and 4,000 mixed merino and crossbred sheep, and last season shore 70 odd bales, 35 of which were shipped direct to London. The prices obtained were highly satisfactory. In addition to the natural advantages indicated above Point Marsden Run has a plentiful supply of first rate stock water, and is enclosed by only a mile and a half of fencing. The latter is accounted for by the geographical situation of the property, which is almost surrounded by the sea. Mr. Chapman was a member of the Kingscote District Council for five years, and acted as judge and treasurer for the Kangaroo Island Racing Club for a quarter of a century. His perennial cheerfulness, integrity, and courtesy have gained for him hosts of friends.

- At Smith's Bay -

Mr. John Turner, of Smith's Bay, about 16 miles west-north-west from Kingscote, is a typical bush fighter— a man whose delight is to overcome difficulties and do what is right by his fellows. Twenty-six years ago, in company with his brother Alfred, he purchased between 5,000 and 8,000 acres of land, ''some as good as there is on the island, and some real bad." As be is one of those who are looked upon by many of the more recent arrivals as 'croakers,' and as he dislikes the thought of being misrepresented, perhaps it will be best, to tell what he has done, and give his views of the possibilities of the country in his own words. "The larger portion of my land," he informed me, "is sandy on the surface, with a clay subsoil. Some of it, however, is extremely heavy clay, and here and there are patches of limestone and rubble. The sand averages from two to nine inches in depth. We find that the limestone land is best for agricultural purposes. When we arrived here the country was covered with dense scrub. In the first year we cleared 240 acres, most of which we cropped immediately afterward with promising results. Some of the wheat was between 6 ft. and 6½ ft. high. Had the close of the season been favourable we should have reaped nearly 70 bushels. As it was, however, owing to the rust, we took off only 20 bushels to the acre. The following year we sowed a quantity of barley broadcast, and although the land had been merely scratched with a stumpjump plough, we reaped 20 bushels. Perhaps I should have mentioned that during the first season six acres of the mullenized land which we had intended to keep was inadvertently burnt. As all feed for the stock had to be purchased from Adelaide, and I did not like the idea of the cattle getting poor and miserable, I decided to throw some seed on the ground and run the harrows ever it. My brothers advised me to keep the grain in the bags, but I adhered to my purpose, and scattered half a dozen bushels. During the operation the rain fell continually, and trickled the seed into little rills. At harvest time those few bushels yielded 28 bags. Yes; my brothers were astonished, and could hardly believe their eyes. Personally I was pretty well staggered. For three or four years following those previously referred to the crop returns declined, which was largely due, I think, to the fact that the ground had not been properly ploughed, and lacked certain essential constituents. Then for two successive seasons I cultivated and sowed a piece of land but grew only rubbish on it. That set me thinking, and I concluded that unless matters improved the best plan would be to depart before all my money went. However, I suggested to my brother that we should try fallowing. We accordingly treated about 50 acres and drilled four-fifths of it (drills were just gaming popularity at that time) with 2 cwt. of bone super to the acre. After the reapers had finished their work I found that we had secured an average of 25 bushels off the manured land, and only 5 bushels an acre off the un-manured portion. That satisfied me that the country required to be fed. The ensuing season I fallowed another piece, spread leaves over it, and set fire to them. Then I put in a crop of barley, with 2 cwt. of super to the acre. The whole paddock averaged 64 bushels. Half a dozen acres yielded 480 bushels. With barley at 4/6 a bushel you can imagine we did well. Thenceforward, until within the last three, years, we had fair crops each season (at proximately 40 bushels to the acre): but 1905-6-7 were bad all over the island. The explanation is that while we had ex cessive wet during May. June, July, and a part of August, hardly any rain fell subse \quently, and consequently militated against the crops maturing.

— Hints and Opinions —

"I have tried numerous barleys, including Chevalier, Lancefield, Sprat, Big and Little English, Duckbill, and a small quantity of Cape. Once I reaped 20 bags of the last-named variety, off less than 2 acres without the use of manures. My favourite wheats are Silver King and Federation. Last season I experimented with 14 or 15 sorts , Federation (did remarkably well; Jacob's No. 1 and No. 4, Hawke's Rust proof, arid Majestic pleased me considerably; and Jonathan, Gallant's Hybrid, Gluyaces, Leek's Rustproof, and Marshall's No. 3 made gratiiying headway. In all my experiments I have discovered that ordinary yard manure is far superior to artificial manure. The best land here is on the north coast, and has been occupied for years. I have travelled from one end of the island to the other, and know perfectly what it is like. The soil in the middle and the southern parts is extremely patchy, and does not warrant the rush which seems to be setting in for it. Personally I think a grave mistake is being made by many of these new blockers. Nobody else is more anxious than I am to see the place move ahead, but I don't want unfortunate and misguided persons to come over here and swamp all their cash for nothing. I entertain high hopes of the lambraising prospects of the country. The lambs, however, must be passed off early in the season— not later than November— because as soon as the feed begins to dry they fall away. My flock of sheep numbers about 1,000 and includes merinos and crossbred Lincolns, principally the latter which produce a good, coarse wool. Fine crossbred wool last season brought 10¾d. The lambs wool though, did not realize in Adelaide what I considered it ought to have done. Therefore I shall send the next clip direct to the home market. The reason why I favoured the Lincoln-merino cross is that it makes better meat and thrives more satisfactorily than any other kind. Sorne of the mutton I have prepared has weighed 108 lb."

— A Large Landowner.—

Mr. P. T. Bell has a couple of thousand acres in Menzies, adjoining Mr. Turner's place, 10,000 acres in Cassini, and 12 square miles (under a pastoral lease) known as the Stokes Bay Run. Sheep, of which he grazes 1,000 at Stokes Bay: and has 200 on the homestead, occupy the larger part of his time. Besides them, however, he owns 20 head of cattle and farms about 60 acres of land each year. Mr. Garry Buick, a worthy son of this grand old pioneer at American River, Mr. John Buick, the owner of one of the smallest but most thoroughly cultivated farms on the Wisanger road a couple of miles from Kingscote. Every inch of his 250 acres, is cleared, and the land now looks capable of growing all that may be desired. Mr. Buick has a neat little homestead, and is striving gallantly to prove his contention that some ot the land in Menzies cannot be surpassed on the island. Among others who carry on farming in the district are Messrs. C. Price (manager of Lake Farm in the Graves estate), A. E. Reeves, R. H. Hall, W. H. Hamilton, M. Chirgwin, S. Buck, Warnes & Co., G. F. Barnes, B. H. Bell, and S. O. Smith, Wisanger; S. J. Balchin, R. Snelling, A. H. Hamilton, and H. E. Whittle, Emu Bay; Palmer & Edwards, J. F. Boettcher, A. von Wiadrowski, J. Wright and Mrs. Florence, Cygnet River; and Mr. G. G. Ayliffe, on the Hog Bay road.

KANGAROO ISLAND. (1908, March 11). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56465568

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