On Yorke's Peninsula. No. 1.
During last month I made a big tour through Yorke's Peninsula, and made a few notes on the crops. Generally speaking the farmers will do well, although now and again I came across patches where the returns will not be so good as in some previous years. My trip started at Bute, and I spent the first evening at Port Price.
The crops were wanting rain badly. There were several goodlooking paddocks in Kulpara, and with an inch of rain they would be quite up to last year. Red rust was about and some frosty nights had proved dangerous, especially when the wheat was in bloom. The hay will be very short and scarce.
At Pt. Price a meeting of the Liberal Party was held. Mr D. J. Gordon, was one of the speakers. He gave such a sound, plain explanation of the Liberal and Labour platforms that even the dullest could not but grasp the whole situation. Any farmer or employer who would vote for labour after hearing such an explanation should visit Dr Cleland. The comment on preference to unionists by Mr Gordon was splendid and showed how cruel and tyrannical such an Act will be. Supposing the Liberal Party was in power and passed an Act to prevent unionists getting work, what an uproar there would be in the Labour Party. And quite right. Still we are told that we are living in a free country, and that the present Government is the uplifter of humanity. Taxation was thoroughly explained. We are the most heavily taxed people in the world, and if a change of bad seasons came we should find ourselves unable to meet such taxes. In the ordinary course of events we must be up to dry seasons now. In that case we shall feel the pinch, but perhaps this uplifter of humanity Government of ours will immediately take off the unbearable taxes. Then if it does, the Treasury will suffer. Instead of wiping off some of our debt while the money is flowing into the Treasury we are dipping deeper into debt.
Again, eight hours for farm labourers is a most iniquitous suggestion made by a party of selfish Socialists who do not understand farming nor do they want to know. Men in the early days went out in this country, a dense scrub. Only those who have gone through it can imagine the hardships which those men had to endure. Now through a change of seasons and phosphates they have got into good positions, and so soon as they do they are taxed or robbed to support those who never bad the pluck nor determination to face the battle through such hardships. This is part of the benevolence of our uplifting of humanity Government.
The crops from Price to Ardrossan are very poor indeed, and many of them will not be reaped. I was glad to learn that many of the crops inland are promising well. Near Ardrossan there are a few wheat paddocks looking good enough for 20 bushels. Put up at the Royal Hotel and was made comfortable by Mr and Mrs Graham. Next morning I strolled through the town, and was much surprised to notice the number of new shops and houses since my last visit, about ten years ago. I went I to Mr C. Smith's foundry, and I was amazed at the size of the workshops and the labour-saving machinery. Mr Elphick, office manager, kindly showed me all through, and explained every machine. The stability and prosperity of Ardrossan mainly depend on the factory. Mr Tiddy's new store is conspicuous. It is a beautiful large and up-to-date building. The whole town and surroundings seem in a flourishing condition.
From Ardrossan to Port Vincent I hugged the shore as close as I could all the way. Parts of the journey are very rough, with solid rocks and sand for about ten miles, and miserable stunted scrub. The crops would give you the 'blues' to look upon them—from four inches to a foot high, and heads as long as a button. There is no hope of getting back the seed off a lot of it. A farmer at Pine Point told me they would have good crops further inland even if they got no more rain. The rabbits are in millions along this track, and have eaten the crops to the ground up from a chain in from the fence. When you get about 20 miles from Ardrossan the country improves; you can see fair-sized mallee and sheoaks, and good crops of wheat and oats. About six miles from Port Vincent I saw the first binder working this season in a very good crop. The perfect semi-circle of the bay at Port Vincent and rising ground all round with trees and bushes would remind you slightly of a corner in Sydney Harbour.
On Yorke's Peninsula. No. II.
The country is much better between Port Vincent and Stansbury, and the crops are looking really good. The farmers' houses and the surroundings also show improvement. Stansbury is an old township, and derives much trade from the burning of lime. There are 11 kilns within a radius of five miles. The crops from Stansbury on to Edithburgh and Yorketown are splendid, and many of them promise from 20 to 30 bushels. All the farmers feel satisfied, that they are in for another good harvest. Edithburgh is a very busy town in the summer time with the carting and manufacturing of salt, and one factory alone employs 150 men in the season. There are three factories, and sometimes as many as 150 wagons are on the road. Yorketown is a progressive town, and new buildings are going up all around. An old friend in M.C. Ewens was met with here. He told me that in the busy season some of the "cream of society" try to scrape Ewens instead of the salt, but they come off second best. Several other old friends were met at Yorketown. It is quite pleasant to come across well-known faces when one is travelling. Around Yorketown, and for a good distance on the road to Minlaton, there is not a mallee tree to be seen. To one coming from the mallee country this was quite a new experience. The land, however, grows splendid grass, but much of it is rocky, and no doubt accounts for the large tracts that lie uncultivated.
Eight miles north of the town I found my old friend the mallee, and some beautiful crops of wheat and oats. The best looking paddock of oats I have seen was on this road. All the farmers seem to be doing well if one can judge by the stamp of house they build. The whole countryside seems most prosperous. Minlaton is a pretty town and the main street is wide with a nice variety of trees on each side. All the buildings are substantial and new, motor cars and all sorts of traps are in evidence. From near Mt. Rat to Pt. Victoria there is fair agricultural country, and I was surprised at the quality of the crops hereabouts, as I had heard for the past twenty years that Mt. Rat was miserable stony country. Port Victoria is rather a picturesque little town. Coming over the hill you look down on a large bay, and the houses nestle at the head of the big stretch of water. At one side a long narrow neck of land juts put into the sea. This belongs to the Point Pearce Mission Station. Poft Victoria is busy in the summer with wheat and salt carting. There are six wheat buyers and two banks. Armed with a letter of introduction to the manager, Mr Garnett, I visited the mission station. Mr and Mrs Garnett were very kind. They explained everything about the place. The houses of the natives are on either side as you pass up to the manager's residence, and the lubras and picanninies gaze with curiosity at the stranger as he goes along. The station holding is 20,000 acres, 1,900 of which is under wheat, and 1,000 under oats and barley. Another 1,850 acres is in fallow for next season. There are 6,600 sheep. The natives crop about 1,000 acres every year on contract. This to me was a peculiar arrangement, but the blacks are so lazy that it is the onty way to get them to work. It is practically piece work, and they get paid by results. The crops around Maitland are a real pleasure to see, and they should show returns up to 35 bushels to the acre. Taken all through I had a most pleasant and interesting trip, and I feel more than ever convinced that Yorke's Peninsula is one of the most reliable and good wheat-producing areas of the State.