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THE DAWSON SCHEME.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROJECT. Some time ago the Government ap-<*> pointed an Irrigation Commissioner to give attention to several irrigation pro-
jects. Tfte eluet ot these is the Dawson. River scheme* with which the Commis sioner—Mr. A. F. Partridge—has been largely occupied since his Arrival in Queensland. It was ascertained from him last week that a definite move was about to be token in connection with the Dawson project—that was the laying out of tho demonstration farm at Castle Creek, which, he said, would be put in hana almo?t immediately. Mr. Partridge ex* pressed the opinion that the farm would be "under way" by April or Way nest, and that the irrigation of the preliminary 6000 acres at Castle Creek for occupation by Queensland farmers and by settlers from other States would then be pro ceeded with. Plant and material for the demonstra tion farm was now being sent up to Castle Creek and Rannes, while at Castle Creek.residences and stores were in course of ercetiftn. The farm, which would oc cupy about 200 acres, would form a sort of schooj for farmers who required some additional insight into irrigation methods, and the particular cultural requirements of the district. In addition to this 200 acres had been set apart for. a village site.
Concerning the preliminary 5000 acre area, it was proposed to design, equip, and plant a serieg of type farina on the Castle Creek section, and to provide a butter and cheese factory, a dehydration plant, a small cannery, a bacon curing plant, and very likely a tobacco kiln. Mr. Partridge said he expected that the main Daw?dn scheme would be completed* about three years from its authorisation. It would give scope for the accommoda tion of overseas settlers in addition to local men. He considered that applicants for areas should first seek from a board
of executive officers and the Commit* sioner certificates of their qualifications, . upon receipt of which they could selecft. or be allotted a block. That board also could act in an .advisory- capacity in rcla- ■ tiou to applications by settlers for a€* ■ vanccg. 80 far as could be done certain - areas would be deflnod (or certain classes of produce, but the matter was optional with the grower—there would be no inter ference Irom the administration. The officers of the Commissioner would be there to give advice respecting the most suitable crops and the best means of dealing with the product, but no form of compulsion was proposed. The settler would quickly observe that unity of action .' with his fellows woaldNbc to his* advant- _ > age, and thus a natural co-operative com,* J inunity should be evolved. One oj the things which would teneY to economy in- irrigating would be the setting apart of areas suitable for certain classes oFproihicls for specialising ii> those fiToducta. Mr. Partridge considered that • he maximum for advances to thcae settlers should be rigidly set at £400, to include house, implement*, and all im provements and stock. Such a high rate of advance as £800 aud over, as had beenu the case in Southern irrigation areas, bad proved of no real benefit to cither the ' farmer or the State advancing the money —rather it had tended to extravagant and unnecessary expenditure, defeating the purpose for which the advances were in ■tituted.
PROGRESS OP THE SCHEME. The Minister for Lands said od Mofeft? that in 12 months from now a "number of settlers would be established on ih« Burnett land*, which were being pr*e*. pared under the Government's scheme. Mr. Coyne also pointed out that n« decision had been reached 'whereby there would be any discrimination or prefer ence between British and Australian settlers in the opening of the. land foi settlement. If it was desired to set apart any particular portion of the land for a group settlement, it could be done, but it was not proposed to do so. Ha could not say at present whether ther# -wouM bo a sufficiently large number •! Queensland or Australian settlers alone) to occupy the area. He remarked, how* ever, that ho had received a number of letters from men in other States desir ous of settling in the Burnett region and
Seeking details of the project. Tha necessary information had been given jto them. He had been informed by a man intU
caately acquainted with the Callid* Valley that he considered that the area* of th« rich agricultural land there should be made much smaller than the Govern ment proposed to make them. Personally he (Mr. Coyne) disliked having the •reai designed on too small a scale. The work of designing the land into what ■were regarded as being living areas was proceeding at present, and his personal view was that it was better to have them a little above a living area than below it. - ' . Apart from the 21 cases in "which re sumption was not being proceeded with the Government was going on with the resumption of allthe holdings dealt with trecefctly in the Land Appeal Court.