FROM GOLD TO SHEEP.
A DECADE OF PROGRESS. Eastern Goldfields Pastoralists.
For over 2o years the vast area between Kalgoorlie and Wiluna, known in its early years as Lake Way, was regarded solely an auriferous belt of country with no
possibilities other than gold production. Within the past ten years, however, what previously was considered a 'semi-desert' region has been transformed into cattle and sheep country. Today the Kalgoorlie, Menzies, Mt. . Margaret (Laverton), Leo nora, and Wiluna districts carry over half a million sheep and nearly 25,000 head of cattle, while the wool clip for the 1933-34 season was nearly 3,700,0001b., or approxi mately 11,667 bales, valued at £243,600. The transformation of this auriferous country into pastoral areas has been a notable development in primary industry in Western Australia, and at present pas toral and gold mining pursuits are progress ing collaterally and converting previously idle country into areas of production. Eastern States' Pastoralists. Isolated portions of , the Kalgoorlie-. Wiluna area were, occupied for pastoral purposes 30 years ago, but only carried a ew hundred head of cattle on holdings of 500,000 to 1,000,000 acres. Dr. Laver, who has had unbounded faith in the goldfields throughout his life, leased 600,000 acres near Kookynie over 28 years ago for pas toral, purposes, as he was struck by its re semblance to the Barclay Tableland of Queensland. This property is today known as Yundamindera Station. The first real test of this district for pastoral purposes, however, was made in 1923. when Mr. T. H. Pearse, of the Gums Station, Burra, South Australia, purchased Yundamindera, which was then carrying 1,400 cattle, and Mt. Celia, an adjoining property of 400,000 acres. This holding of 1,000.000 acres was stocked with selected sheep brought by special trains from South Australia. They thrived in their new home, and the 1924 lambing season was particularly heavy. Eastern' States sheepmen became im
pressed With the country, and pastoral land! values rose throughout the districts between;Kalgoorlie and Wiluna The migration of Eastern States pas toralists then commenced, and between 1925 and 1928 scores of holdings were taken up. Within those three years over £1,500,000 were invested in station proper ties in the Eastern and Northern gold fields. For a few months after shearing during those years special trains arrived in Kalgoorlie from New South Wales Victoria and South Australia with sheep for those areas. From September to De cember, ,925, over 40,000 sheep were railed to Kalgoorlie for distribution, while in one month in 1927 seven sheep trains arrived. In addition, lambing increased the flocks bv 60 to 70 per cent. The permanent feed in the form of saltbush, and the fact that good water can be obtained at a depth of from seven to 100 feet, have made this huge area of approximately 72,000 square miles ideal for sheep. Rabbits have not been troublesome, and dingoes, although bad at first, are now fortunately scarce. Within, the first year of the, opening: of Yundamindera' Station .100 were killed in side the fences. Poison 'and fencing have practically wiped them out ? completely. However, a pest in the form of kangaroos has; appeared, and these . animals have wrought havoc with fences and green. feed.: The natural advantages of the dis trict,' which produces a wool showing no break in fibre, have resulted in 4.500,000. acres of -pastoral land between Kalgoorlie and- Wilhna changing hands in the. last eleven years, and. in the introduction of much new capital. to Western Australia. The PrinelpaJ. Station Properties. Between Kalgoorlie and Wiluna today there are over- 100 individual pastoral holdingr.and 7a review of several pi the principalfcones reveals the extent of the pastoral industry in the area. The first station property of any- magnitude near Kalgoorlie is that of Messrs. Halford and Son, known as Credo. This carries ap proximately 11,000 sheep, the. clip in ,1930 beiritc 200 baletr ' At Menries is Jeedamya. Mr. E. L. Lukin's property ' which is stocked with 7.000 Bungaree-blood sheep, while the Yerilla Station is to the east with G. A; Cooper's Gindalbie Station. The Mt. Remarkable Statiqfl is 35 miles! from Kookynie. Mr. R. Mackie pur chased this holding in 1932 from Mrs. I.. E. Lynch- and the property is now in the name of Messrs. T. N. Lowe and Mackie. The Yundamindera Company's station ad joins, with Messrs. E. W. Hawker arid Son's Edjudina Station which has 25,000 sheep. Mr. L. Wilkie's Melita Station is . situated '.near Leonora with .E: ',;G. ' Wi] kie's Morapi Station-to the '.eiit.M North of ;tfie town is the Mt. Malcolm /Pastoral Company's' Glenorri, Station j- with i 12,000 sheep where Messrs: Foulkes-Taylor and E. H. Lefroy have been successful with Bungaree blood stock. The Kookynie Station is in the same district and is owned by Mr; W: Bright, 'while to ' the west lies Messrs. Killicpate's AJfred Downs Station arid to the north, the'Mt' Ida, Pastoral VCompariy-'s ^property?; with MeEsrs.R.; Miller and Son's , Desdemona Station^ ????' -^ -v'v- ^J*' '?'? =*'*? Mr. J. Willis's Clover Downs Station follows with the Leonora Pastoral Com pany's holding, and Nambi Station is 33 miles east of Leonora. The latter pro perty was sold to the Murrin Pastoral Company and Mrs. Fitzgerald for. £18,000 and consists of 758.320 acres with over 250 miles of fencing and 28 wells: In 1930 it carried 9,500 sheep but it has a carry ing capacity of 35,000 sheep. 'The lease of this property expires, as do most others in the district, in 1982. Mr. J. C. Mc Neil's Wildara Station and Messrs. F and E. Venn's Minarra Station at Murrin Murrin, where there are 10.000 sheep, are in the vicinity. North of Leonora are situated' Tarmoola and Sturt Meadows. Tarmoola is owned by a pastoral company which includes Mr. W. G. Hawkes (of Koonoona stud fame), and Mr. R. 51 McBride, while Sturt Meadows is a hold ing of 750.000 acres -stocked by Messrs. Hawker. Chomley and Company. Mr. A. Male's Ida Valley to the west is given over mainly to cattle. Karong. owned by Mr. Green, is. stocked with 10,000 sheep. The Laverton district embraces Laver ton Downs (Mr. F. C. Allen) with 12,000 sheep, Mt. Crawford (Messrs. Harris and Leonard), with 4,000 sheep and Mt. Weld (Messrs. Bateman brothers) with 6,000 sheep. Pinnacles Station of 800.000 acres is near Doyle's Well. and. was purchased in 1928 by Victorian pastoralists, Messrs. Black and Manifold. Other station pro perties include Lake Darlot (Melrose Pas toral. Company), and Evlistoun,- which was purchased in March, 1911. from the Eman nel Brothers by the Erlistoun Pastoral Company (then the Kalgoorlie and Boul der Firewood Company). The holding embraces 1,000,000 acres and was originally used to fatten stock brought from the northern districts of Western Australia. When it was first taken over, it possessed only four or five wells to supplement the soaks and natural wells, but it now has 84 fully-equipped wells with windmills, tanks and troughs, and over 500 miles of fencing have been erected. Today there are 20,000 Bungaree sheep and 1,500 cattl running on it. At Lawlers, Messrs. h. and H. Nairn control Leinster Downs am Yarrabubba, while Yarrabindie is owned by R. H. Adamson and Company. Mr. S. J. Yeo now holds Depot Springs, with Weebo on the east, now owned by Mr. J. Money. North of Erlistoun -is Bandya, owned by Mr. W. H. Hill. Itconsists of 700,000 acres stocked with 7,000 sheep and cattle. Mr. Acton Adams, of New Zealand sheep fame, also holds a large pas toral area at Pinjin. Large Expenditure on Improvements. Much money has been spent in purchas ing and improving properties in the dis trict. To convert the Edgudina Station, for example, from cattle to sheep, £100,000 was expended, while the conversion to sheep cost the Erlistoun Company £50,000. Improvements on the Sturt Meadows have been estimated at £120,000. Sheep and Cattle Statistics. The latest Government statistics reveal the following numbers of sheep and cattle, sheep shorn and weight of fleeces in the Kalgoorlie, Menzies, Mt. Margaret, Leonora and Wiluna districts. The figures are for the year ending 1932. District. Sheep. Cattle. Kalgoorlie ? 23,276 5,969 Menzies ? 88.018 2,1/4 Mt. Margaret .... 73,fe0 3,681 Leonora ? 276,847 4,138 Wiluna ? 77,650 7,890
For the 1931-32 season the Eastern gold field's wool clip totalled 12,704 bales, valued at £139,500; in 1932-33 it was 11,906 bales, valued at £129,500 and in 1933-34 it was lttJoTbaliB. valued at £243JW0.