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THE OLD WOODIAUBS ESTATE.
The original property, which -was pur chased in 1889 by the late Mr. William McCulloch, on the death -of Mr. John Wil son, bad an area of 56,000 acres in one long, narrow, compact block, with a length of about 30 miles. It is very evident that those who originally secured this property thoroughly understood the value of land, and were not to be deterred by its heavily tiinbered condition from confining their at tention to agricultural soil pure and simple. Of the original estate about 30,000 acres have been disposed of by 6ale, and are now held in blocks of various 6izes by farmers and small settlers. The balance has been distributed into three separate estates owned by the sons, Messrs. Samuel, Golin, and William McCulloch. As the eldest eon, the first-named has the old home, one of the biggest and best country seats in Victoria, with about 6,000 acres. Mr. Colin McCulloch is located at the northern end of the old-run, -witli about 12,000 acres around him, and under the name of North Woodlands formed a new home here a few years ago. Mr. William McCulloch is at the southern end of the old estate, and has about 9,000 acres. He is now engaged in forming his home in about the centre of this holding, and is changing the name of it from South Woodlands to Dunne wurthy.
. NORTH WOODLANDS
is situated about 20 miles east , of Stawell, but will shortly be brought into closer Tail way communication by means of the line now in the course of construction -which is to run from Crowlands to Navarre. The direction to be taken by this new line practically leads to a dead end, and by no means represents the most serviceable route that could have been adopted for tap ping this district. The line runs through South Woodlands within eight of the bouse, and a railway station is to be constructed about half a mile therefrom. About 5,000 acres of this property are given over to share-farming, in holdings of about 200 acres in size, under occupation by 22 chare fanners. Notwithstanding the distance from Stawell, wheat-growing has been very successful for some time past. The cost of cartage has hitherto represented 4d. per bushel, a pretty severe tax on any grower. Tbe returns have been good, and are likely to be good this year, and ranging from 20 to 35 bushels per acre. The dis tance is too great for tbe extensive grow ing of any quantity of hay, but there is a fair acreage under oats, though the main stay of all concerned is wheat. The prin ciple of the share system here is that the land-owner takes one-third of the crop,
fljv^s (the1t^antf|tT^ thf 9tti>prjfbr
three years, and finds a thirdoftheinanuve; The tenant on his part finds all .the labour, and the means for putting in and taking off the crop. A noticeable, feature of thiB year's crops is that-those on fallowed land are considerably heavier and more even than all others. The popular varieties of wheat here appear to be Federation, Dart's Imperial, Steinwedel, and Marshall's Np. 3. TJie same, system which is pursued here in connection with share-farming is. also in vogue on ithe properties of the other two brothers. In addition to cropping opera tions, a crossbred flock, of about 5,000 head of a Lincoln-merino and Border-Leicester merino strain, is run on the grass lands, and on the stubbles after harvest. For the next three months there is a probable carry ing capacity of 10,000 head, but store sheep are very dear at tlie present time. In ad dition to .this, all farmers through out Victoria have a tendency to become keen _ buyers of store sheep and somewhat heavy sellers of fat sheep much about the same moment, and conse quently make market operations bad for one another. Some of the old Lincoln blood, which was brought to such a high pitch of perfection by the late Mr. William McCul loch, is in evidence here; but, with the ex ception of a young red shorthorn bull, I saw very little to remind me of the time when that gallant pioneer was making history with his shorthorns. The formation of a new home, at any time, is not a very easy undertaking, more especially where tanks have, to be constructed, and dams built for the conservation of water. Everything in the matter of buildings for the homestead, and in the formation of the garden, lias been undertaken from the bare-paddock stage, The sporting tendencies of the owner, and of his family, are made manifest on passing the entrance-gate, and finding oneself along side an uncommonly well laid out coursing plumpton, the only private one that I have ever come across in any part of Australia. Numerous greyhounds are provided with comfortable quarters at the back of the stable, and a Waterloo Cup and other tro phies in the house testify to the measure
of success attained. The stables contain" two or three animals of considerable interest to the horse-lover. Among these are that very fine, upstanding, grey hunter Wait and See, which, with Miss Alice McCulloch in the saddle, has just completed a very suc cessful Tound of the Victorian country showB. This horse stands full seventeen hands high, haB a noble ran, and a grand fore-end. He was not Been at Ins best over fences at the'recent Ballarat Show, but, nevertheless, gives me the impression of be ing an easy and safe conveyance to hounds In any company. It is possible that he may be sent to England later on, to take part in one of the grass counties, should the family again elect to visit the old home land. In these stables I also renewed acquaintance with that very excellent pony Smuger, re fered to in my notes on the Ballarat Show. This pony is a grandson of Pilgrim's" Pro gress, and is about as good a. bit of stuff at fourteen years of age as the best of them usually are at six. It is very evident that everyone here is a great lover of the horse, as not even the ownership, of a couple of motor-cars can displace the claims of good animals to affectionate recognition. As owner of Lieutenant Bill, winner of the Caulfield Cup of 1902, and of "other win ners at picnic and other race meetings, Mr. Colin McCulloch can lay some claim to experience on the turf, including a number
of successes as an amateur rider.
This is quite one of the most imposing country homes in Victoria; both In the mat ter of the house itself and of the gardens and ornamental grounds immediately sur rounding it. The house was built in the year 1868, by the late Mr. John Wilson, a man of very sound ideas, and of a high de gree of culture, as the manner in which the grounds are laid out; and the degree of taste displayed in connection with the whole homestead afford eloquent evidence. More over, during his residence here he accumula ted one of the finest private libraries in the Southern Hemisphere. This, or at any rate, a considerable portion of it, has found a new home at Trawalla, where his-daughter, the wife of Admiral Bridges, resides. Mr. Samuel McCulloch has recently entered into residence, and intends to make Woodlands hb permanent home. Qne can readily un derstand that anybody who has travelled the world over will find much in thegar dens, and in the general surroundings of this home to appeal to an artistic tempera ment. The element of age is evident on all sides-trees 70 and 80 years old, dotted about the grounds. Around the house about a hundred acres are given over to parks and ornamental grounds, garden walks, and avenues, all o! which in the past must have kept 10 or 12 men perpetually busy. -A
considerable measure ofattention isstill be ^ngaieraried^"^e^ow»;?t^trSiStt5vl§g^
table gardens,or tosuchns can bekept under control by four or five men. The garden walksand terraces musthave .been very imposing when at their best. The camphor, 'wood trees show up to advan tage^ and one giant specimen Of the-Tree of Heaven, about. 10 feet, in' circumference at the buttf is said to be one of the finest of its kind in .the country. ? These, and a very picturesque Japanese garden enclosure, contribute a certain Oriental effect to what otherwise bears the appearance of the sur roundings of a stately old English home. Oaks and elms of two or three different
kinds,-and other English trees, with an all pervading background of pines, of the In signia and Umbrella variety, act as a shel ter from the winds, which would otherwise sweep from one end to the otlier of the ridge on'which the house has been built. The avenues and walks are laid out in a most attractive fashion, running at right angles to one another, and in seitni-cir -cular sweeps, among them being one very pleasing avenue effect, a row of elms in the foreground, of Currajoiigs in the middle, and a background of pines. The Wimmera River runs at the foot of the gardens, and skirts a flat of considerable extent, com posed of rich black alluvial soil. This forms a valuable grazing ground for a high class dairy herd, and, where not subject to harmful interference by fiood waters, is capable of being extensively utilised for growing lucerne. A few acres only as yet have been put under this crop, but as the dairying operations are increased lucerne is destined to come in for more attention. The dairy herd is quite the economic fea ture of this properly. A herd of 60 head was in full milk at the time of my visit, the work in connection therewith being undertaken by two young cousins of the proprietor. The system employed here seems to be just about perfect, and the ar rangement of the milking stalls is quite new to me. The cows are milked by machinery, without bails, being penned up according-to the device of W. Jj. Boyce, of Casino, 2vew South Wales, in what are called Eche lon Milking Stalls. These stalls offer great advantages for the quick and easy conduct of the actual milking operation. They do away with all waste of time,.and the cows take to them kindly, and seem to readily .understand about drawing ^up into ^eirosesipective places. This daii^-is Iter ing run on the share J>rmciple,:ihe outlet for the cream being the-CroTClandsrailway sta tion, a Jew miles distant. These' young McCulIochs are gradually getting together a fine herd of milkers of pure and grade AjTskires. They are using McNab and Buchanan bulls, and, by steadily culling, and by breeding only from the best, will soon have a tip-top herd of double the present number. A fair-sized piggery is run in conjunction with this" dairy, the profits therefrom, at thelpj^sent time, being more gratifying than is usually the case with pigs. These young men have also about 300 acres under crop on shares. Of Woodlands proper, about 800 acres is being croppcd on shares, and there is a crossbred flock' of about 2,000-*head. ' The administration of the property is still in the hands of Mr. J. Whlteman, who had charge of it during Mr. McCulloch's ab sence in Europe. The same gentleman, a much-travelled and most interesting personality, also supervises the Dunne wurtby property, owned by Mr. Wil liam McCulloch. I was much interested in inspecting the buildings, yards, and general accommodation provided in generous pro fusion by the late Mr. William McCulloch, during tile period when he was making his tory throughout the countiy with his short horns and his thoroughbred horses. The name of Heather Tartan, one of the finest bulls he ever imported, periodically crops up at metropolitan and other shows, whilst among lovers of the thoroughbred, the names of Caiman and Pilgrim's Progress convey an undercurrent of success.
This property has an area of 9,000 acres, of which about 2,000 acres are under culti vation on the same share-farming princi ple as is in vogue on other parts of the old estate, arid carries a flock of about 6,000 crosBbreds. After having seen active ser vice in South Africa, and served in India as a lieutenant in the British army, Mr. William McCulloch has elected to settle down here, and is building a home an a peculiarly favourable site in one of the pad docks, about the centre of his property. The house is to be a wooden bungalow, a feature of which is to be the employment of the Australian oak, or Tasmanian hard wood. ' Everything has had to be started de novo, the garden laid out and planted, and a dam built, and a reservoir formedin the valley below the house, hat it is a very Refreshing feature to find such ex amples as these of the sons of the original proprietor settling down and making fresh homes on various portiotA of the old es
Mr. Elwood Mead visited the Shcppar fon High School Farm on December <J, when a trial of various lucerne cultivators was held. About 100 persons were , pre sent, mostly settlers. Mr. Mead also visited-subdivisions 1 and . 3 of the -Shep narton Estate Closer Settlement;. Mr.
Mead said that the lucerne crops were.asi jut good as any he had ever seen, but the fact he was impressed -with most was that each subdivision was going to be an or chard district, equalled only by Mywee and Nyah, in Victona. ,