THE VILLAGE SETTLE MENTS.
MOUNT REMARKABLE. [By a Special Correspondent.]
Having occasion to be in the vicinity of Melrose at Easter time I made a point of calling at the newly-formed village settlement to see for myself how things ware managed,
nnd to get as much information as I could on the eubjeot of this and other eettlemeute It is situated about a quarter of a. mile to the wi>st of the Melrose and Wilmington road, and about one and a half miles to the north of MeJroee. For teenery the country in the im mediate viciuity of Mount RoiQirkable would ' be diliicult to surpass in this colony, and the sitoof tbe eettlfment on the Slelroii? Creek is about one of the prettiest in that district. The mount itself forms a background, serving to bring into reliof, aft it were, tbe gigantic Rumtxees whi<*h are there to Ije found. The association consists at present of about 40 members (adults), and a population of 13G souls reside in the settlement under the leader ship of Mr. Wilton Hack. Mr. Hack and the officers of the association on being inter viewed were most obliging and anxious to give any information in their power with respect to tbo progress and prospects of the settlement Mr. Hack's only object, seemed to be to advance its interests, and, as he said, tbe more there was known about the settle ment and its objects the greater was tbe pro bability that sympathy would be created for the movement, and that that sympathy would ultimately be shown in a practical form. Tbe association is not based upon a purely oom munistic principle except with regard to the land. The land belongs to tbe whole of the members, but the profits, if any, are to be divided equally among the adult members of the association. Each member has to pay into the common funds £20 if he is a married man, and £10 if he is single; but if the married man's wife and family remain away from the settlement till the houses are bailt be can come in as a angle man. In some exceptional ewes members are admitted without payment should they be such as tbe settlement are in urgent need of. For instance, there is no bootmaker there, and should a steady reliable man apply for admission gratis there is no doubt that his request will be favorably cuiisidered. The admission of members with out payment is, however, being discoraged, at any rate until a larger supply of water has been obtained. Although the amount of the admission money Uu been fixed a« £10 aitd £30 in come cases where persons ate in a posi tion to do more they do co. In one case a member is possessed of some property, and be has pntnised to pay JL'l a month for the next five years. Another—a single man—gave £"i 3. Such donations do not entitle those making them to a greater share in the division of the profits. It is just about four weeks rinoe the first of the settlers went on the land. During that time they hare erected temporary iron and calico tenements t:> accommodate tbe families, and besides this tbey have mode ? start at well- Biokinc. Two wells are being sunk at tbe foot of tbe mount. One v down about 35 ft and another 23 ft., but no water has yet been struck. Some of the older residents in the district will be surprised if any permanent supply of water be struck until a great depth is reached, but it is to be hoped that the settlers' labor will be rewarded by gettin a bountiful supply at a reasonable depth. The old well 100 tbe land is being deepened and timbered up. Som>- little water soaks in, but it is ex pected tbat at about 50 or 60 ft. a permanent supply will be got. Tbe want of water has been a drawback since tbe settlers arrived, bat that want should not be of long duration, as betides tbe wells being rank toe dams are being enlarged. While enlarging one of them a good bed of day was found, and it id proposed to j start brickmaking at once. Thu will c«rve the I two objects of enlarging the dam and giving materials for bricks, a large number of which will be required for the ounces proposed to be erected. I'be tcnte and edifices now used are partly on s Government road and partly on tbe settlement land, but it is intended to lay out a prop?r township, with • large square in tiie centre for recreation purpose?, the houses to be all built to face the square. The land beiug level, or nearly bo, where the settlmv are oatnped them should be no difficulty in having a township there. The land pussnned by the community consusto ot a bljck of 569 acres, on a perpetual lease, at a rental of (id. per acre per annum, payable to the Govern ment, and another block of 3% acres at I'd- per acre. Application bat btwa made to the Government for some more land, but as j this land cannot be obtained unless repor-1 cbised by the Government it will be eotno time before it can be got. The Government would have to bring in an Acs bbfore they are able to make tbe repurchase. This delay will not be of mocb detriment to tbe settlors, as the laud they already have will require all tbe attention they can give it for a long time to come. About 100 acres had been cleared by tbe former resident, who, unable to pay up his rent for about eight years, had his land forfeited. This 100 acres has had the stubble burnt off, and from about half of it tbe stumps and dead wood bhd been removed. The re maining half will be dose aa soon as possible, but the settlers are handicapped by not having much stock. They have been greatly helped since their arrival by the loan of a team of bullocks by one of the men who assisted to bring their furnitnre up from Port Germein. The team will not be available much longer as the owner requires their ser vices. The settlers are thankful to have had tbe use of them so long. It is intended to plant 50 or 60 acres with vines and fruit trees during the coming year if possible, whilst 20 acres will be sown for hay. The vines will be principally raisin and currant vines, and a limited quantity of table grapes will be planted but no wine grapes, it is believed tbat a better market will be obtained for raisins and currants, and these and what table grapes are grown will be sent to Adelaide. Some six acres of rich black toil in the scrub has been cleared for a vegetable garden. The settlement cf the people on the land naturally means a lot of outlay with but little prospect of any return for two or three years, and tbe question of how to bridge over the intervening time would be tha most press- ing and important. In reply «o that; question Mr. Hack raid the Mount Remarkable Village Settlement was the only one which had not yet received a grant from tbe Government, although a small amount had been promised, and would doubtless be received in due course. Under tbe Village Settlement Act of 1803 the Government have the power to advance as a loan up to 50 per ooot. of the value of the improvements and materials en the ground; and to a total amount mot ex ceeding £50 per adult member of the associa tion. These advances with the asaistance of the shops and industries proposed to be opened in tbe settlement village would, they hoped, enable them to live until some return was re ceived from the land. I was shown some in genious easy chairs and portable clothes-horses which were being made, and some of which had already been disposed of. The settlement is managed by seven trustees, who are ejected at an annual meeting of the members, and of whom three and the chairman retire annually, but are eligible for re-election. The trus tees at present are Messrs. Wilton Hack (chairman). J. W. Bankhead, J. R. Cattermole, G. J. Payne, T. H. Casley, J. W. P. Cocks, and G. Edward. The lastnamed had not arrived on the settlement, and unless he came by March 28 a fresh trustee would have to be elected, the regulations providing that the' trustees must be resident. The secretary is Mr. G. Edson, and the treasurer Mr. C. Orde- mann. These two are elected by the trustees, whilst the auditor, who most not be a member of tbe association, is chosen by the members. The members include a variety of tradesmen, among them being two market gardeners, two wheelwrights, several farmers, carpenters, and masons, two blacksmiths, four painters, an engineer, a baker, a plasterer, a plumber, and others, but as before mentioned no bootmaker. A cricket club has been formed, and on Satur- day, March 24. a game was played at Melrose against the Melrose olub. As might be ex- peered from the want of praotice the Melrose team had much the best of the game, although it ended in a draw. The Melrose players declared their innings closed when about three wickets had fallen, Tribe making 100 not out and Ewens 60 not' out. The settlers lost five wickets for 49 runs. A whist club is also being organised. One of the settlers has erected a camera obscura, to be used at the sports which were to be held in an adjoining paddock on Easter Monday. These sports, with the attraction of an £85 Sheffield Handicap, are tbe best attended in the north, and it was expected that tbe funds of the settlement would be greatly benefited by the sixpences received from the visitors. Unfortu nately I had to leave before the sports began, so that I do not know how tbe venture suc- ceeded. I was favored with a private view of the camera obscura, and found in was a remark ably good one. The settlers generally seem a contented and hard-working lot and speak in high terms of the chairman, Mr. Hack, and he speaks most hopefully of the settlers and of the pruspects of making the settlement a success.