No corrections yet
T1HE REPURCHASED ESTATES. REPORT ON COONDLE. The Minister for 'Lands (Mr. Bath) has received the following report from Chief Inspector C. E. May on the re purchased estate of Coondle: "York, June 17. "Having made a block-to-block visita. tion of the repurchased estate of Coon die, I beg to submit the following re port :-Coondle, comprising an area of 6,800 acres, lying between two and seven miles north of Newcastle, em braces country of a somewhat precili tous nature, the hills being clothed in luxuriant pasture, whilst the valleys contain splendid alluvial flats, well adapted for intense culture. When the Government of the day were negotiating 'the purchase of this estate, there was a diversity of opinion as to the policy of securming this hilly class of country for closer settlement. The facts related hereunder will confirm the wisdom of the acquisition of the land, which was formerly used as a mere sheep-walk, and prove the unqualified success of the purchase for solid settlement. The area was subdivided into 90 lots, varying from fifteen to thirty-seven acres, along the Toodyay Brook, to 410 acres of the hilly country, and thrown open for se lection about seven years ago. There was keen competition for some. of the Iots, whilst others remained -vacant for some little time after the lands were open for selbction. To-day, however, there is not a vacant block, the whole area being occupied by 32 selectors, and, with the exception of one case (a 100 acre block), there is not a holding that has not been improved. Although the settlers, sturdy-looking farmers of the right grit, appear to be using their best efforts in developing their holdings, it is nevertheless noticeable that they do not compare too favourably for high class cultivation, which is essential for the best results of their products, -and which is seen to advantage by the set tlers on similar areas higher up the river (Avon). The attention of the Coondle settler is confined almost en tirely to the growth of cereals, and yet, in my opinion, the land offers excellent opportunities for mixed farming. Fruit and all kinds of rooted crops, together with the raising of stock and poultry, could be successfully and more profit ably undertaken than under existing conditions, where a fair return from the land is not realised by the mere produc tion of one commodity. There are some capable farmers at Coondle. who have executed great work in a short space of time, with the heavy jam and York gum country, the foremost being J. McClu ney. who has 90.acres under cultivation, a substantial dwelling, and out-build ings. A. Cook has about eight acres of orchard and vineyard, and about twenty acres under cultivation, and an apiary containing over 200 hives; he has also another one at Muchea, on the Midland Railway. Mr. (look informed me that his apiary was far more profitable than corn-growing. He estimates that his hives average 601b. of honey per season, and, at present, in a glutted market, is worth £-25 per ton, or almost 2;d. per lb. On the day of my visit he had some 600-gallon tanks full of honey, con taininir in all 13 tons. ready for a favour able market. C. J. Ferguson. of the old Coondle homestead, has 220 acres un der cultivation. D. E. and J. A. Lloyd, B. Pember, Lee, and others have made good progress. The Improvements may be summarised as follows: - Boundary fencing, sheep and cattle proof, 66 miles; division fencing. 8l miles; area under cultivation, 1,800 acres: other improvements, dwellings, wells, etc.. £3,065, making a total assessment of £9,519, or a rate of 21s. 7d. per acre."