Lists (None yet)

Login to create lists

Comments (None yet)

Add New Comment

No corrections yet

IN THE NOR'-WEST. FROM ROEBOUIRNE TO PORT HEDLAND. (From a Correspondent.) Roebourne, June 23. The country around Roebourne is in a very bad way, owing to the prolonged absence of rain. Sheep are being shifted in all directions, and 18,000 are about to be sent south by water .his week by specially chartered steamers. Kan garoos are very plentiful, and what little grass there is left the 'roos are playing sad havoo with; the pastoral ists in consequence are giving a bonus of 3d. per head, and a number of shooters are doing well. Two brothers from South Australia have accounted for no less than 13,000 'roos in twelve months; 7,000 off one run. After leaving Roebourne you pass through 50 miles of country perfectly bare, except for patches of dried spinifex here and there, until you come to Sher lock Station, where a better class of country is met with. Slight showers have made a spring in the dried grass here, and Mr. Mears, the owner, thinks he can hold out for some time to come; but should rain niot fall shortly the stock will have to be removed. Sher lock comprises 300,000 acres, and de pastures 25,000 shetp, besides 300 cattle and 100 horses. The 'next. 25 Balla Balla are practically grass less, and then you leave the tableland behind and come into the plain coun try; a stretch of 25 miles of waterless spinifex plains, perfectly level, without a treeto be seen in the whole distance. Mundabullangana Station is situated on the river of that awful name, 80 miles from Roebourne, and 50.miles from Port Hedland. The run has . an area of 700,000 acres, subdivided into thirty paddocks, watered by 24 windmills, onle in each corner, so each paddock has four waters. This means of watering pad docks is admirable, the results from which are only too obvious, as they usually depasture from 70,000 to 80,000 sheep; but this year, on account of sales, they will not muster more than 50,000. As an example of the heavy carrying capacity of the run, it may be mentioned that the pastures will fatten any kind of stock, and top them up, so that high prices are obtainable for them. For instance, the last sale of fat sheep was a paddock of wethers of all ages, two-tooth to six years old, in all 3,000. The buyer took the lot at 17s. in the ,wool, on the run. The station is 'splendidly adapted for both pheep and cattle, and can't be beaten ii the Nor' West for wogl-growing. Mundabullangana is the property of Mr. S. P. MacKay, who has been on the run for the past 25 years as overseer, manager, and owner. This is one of the few stations in the Nor'-West where improvements have been thoroughly gone into, and is a credit to the owner. The homestead is built of solid masonry, with a concrete 10ft. verandah running all round. The hall is large and com modious, and is also used as a dining room. Water is laid on everywhere. A number of buildings of stone and iron form a nice picture. Hay is stacked in a large iron shed, sufficient to last 12 months. The store is built of stone, and the blacksmith's shop, also of stone, is a relief from the ordinary bush humpy. But the most commendable building, and one which deserves special mention, is the shearers' quarters. This is a pretty little iron cottage, painted red and white, with a verandah on two sides. There are four , rooms, with bunks 'for six men; reading-room, and 'bathroom, containing two showers and six basins. There is also a separate room for meals. Shearers here receive top wages, namely, £1 a hundred and found. This is the second year Mr. MacKay has employed white shearers, and he informed me that he was highly gratified with the result, and hopes soon to employ nothing but white labour. I was lucky to find this station shearing. The shed is situated some 200 yards from the house, and is built of corrugated iron. The board is occupied by 26 shearers--12 white on one side and 14 natives on the other. Two tables are used for rolling and classing, and a large room adjoining contains a Fer rier's and Boomer's patent press, in which from 20 to 30 bales are pressed daily. As soon as the bales are ready, they are carted to the coast, seven miles away, and stored. A donkey team of 14 donkeys and a bullock team do the locomotion. The shlearers have six runs daily-five of I hour 20 minutes and one of 1 hour, with tea and brownie at 10 an'd 3. Pressing, picking. up, and rouseabouting are all done by the na tives, with two Chinese sewing the bales. The drafting-yards are built of sawn timber, with patent springs on each -ate. and are of the orthodox nattern.

Water is laid on all over the shed, and a number of natives are employed lay ing the dust. Mr. MacKay breeds a high-class sheep, and has a contract for three years with Mr. A, J. Murray, of Mount Crawford, S.A., for 50 selected rams. The sheep look in excellent condition, and Mr. MacKay expects to shib 500 bales of wool. This is a small 'shipment com pared with some years, as in 1001 and 1902 he shipped 1.000 hales each year. The lambing averages 60 per cent. for this season. I suppose there are few lovers of horseflesh to whom Mr. Sam MacKay is a stranger. He has won races from Wyndham to Perth. and owned such well-known horses as Sir Janies Fergus son, Cynic. Two of Hearts, Sunny Days, His Royal Highness, Scandalmonger (imp.), Miss Kestrel (imp.), Black Blooker (imp.), and The Doe. These are now defunct, but Mr. MacKay has good substitutes in Corsican, by Neck erseat. Josephine, I.e Var. by Lochiel, Lord Lyon (late champion of Australia at Sydney Show), Federal Chief (1st, Hawklesbury and Sydney Showse) and a splendid Arab. bred by Judge Boucaut, of South Australia. A lot of youngsters by a Suffold Punch entire, bred by Mr. A. A. Dangar, of Neotsfield. N.S.W., were being branded during my visit-a very handsome lot. After leaving this hospitable home stead. you pass through 30 miles of dry spinifex country to Bedowrie Station, and then 20 miles of heavy sand to Port Hedlland. Port Hedland is a progressive little town of some six years' existence. If the Pilbarra fields ever get a railway, this certainly will be the port. In fact, it is the only suitable outlet in the Nor'-West. A good deal of money has been spent here. A causeway has been built across the swamp at a cost of £15.,000, and a good jetty capable of holding three steamers at once. The township is built on a sandspit, and at high water is surrounded by water, the rise and fall in the tide being no less than 24ftf. Although Port Hedland is Sa town of so short a life, a number of very decent buildings are to be seen, and I a large two-storey stone building for a hotel is being constructed. Three very comfortable hotels are already there, and whether a fourth will be an acquisition I have my doubts. e Hotels are alr'ady too numerous in these small townships. The inhabitants are lahouring under many disvdrantages. They have no school, although there are 2-1 childrln. Where is our boasted compulsory educa tion P