Our Flocks and
THE PASTORAL INDUSTRY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
ITS HISTORY AND PROSPECTS.
THE story of the pastoral settlement of Australia has
never yet attracted the attention it deserves at the hands of either our historian or our imaginative writers Why, it is hard to say. As a picturesque field of adventure, of daring, and of romantic failure and success, it has few equals in all the records of our island continent; yet no chronicler has found fame in immortalising, in worthy lan- guage, and in realistic perspective, the dauntless courage, the desperate risks, the intrepid bearing of the pioneer spirits who found, in the vast freedom of our boundless saltbush plains and in thr desert heart of our remote bush, field for the exercise of all the finest qualities of our race. From the days of Burke and Wills, the men who can never be held by the shackles of civilisation have pushed out into the Never-Never, building up, by slow degrees, Australia's vital stock of flocks and herds, and establishing ever wider and wider, thc outposts of civilisation. To-day our production of meat, wool, and allied products stands as a memorial of the achievement of the pioneers, outweighing as it does the production of any other class or section of the community. It is as the Shepherd Nation of the South that wc stand, financially erect, and physically cap- able of holding our own among the peoples of the world.
Western Australia, cut off by the Great Australian Desert from the rest of the continent, was the last of the Australian States to develop its pastoral resources to any- thing like its capacity. Sheep, cattle, horses and pigs were imported into the country by the first settlers, and were landed at various ports in the South-West-Fre- mantle. Bunbury, Busselton, Augusta, and Albany. But it was many years before the initial difficulties were over- come. The poison trouble was unknown to the first settlers, whose experience of its deadly properties was costly in the extreme. It was many years before the character of the South-West was understood, and still longer before the vast pastoral areas of the North and North-West were dis-
In 1829 the colony possessed 57 horses, 204 cattle, 1,469 sheep, and 106 pigs. In that year Thomas Henty imported from his Sussex farm in England some pure merino sheep, originally bought from the flocks of George III, which he introduced into the Bunbury district, on his Belvidere Es- tate (now held by Mr. Venn), and when he left the West, in 1831 (to become one of the pioneers of Victoria) part of the flock remained in the colony, but it is impossible to trace its subsequent history. Nor is it easy to find re- cords of the stock importations and transactions from 1830 to 1860. We know that Colonel Molloy, in the very early days, attempted to establish a settlement at Augusta, on the mouth of the Blackwood River, and that his cattle and horses, working north in the open bush, used to make for a patch of feeding country near Busselton,, still called "Cattle Chosen"-the name given it by the colonel's herdsmen.
The Bussells and Lockes ran stock round Busselton. C- R.
Prinsep, in the 'forties, bought Belvidere from the Hentys, and imported Zebu cattle from India, which finally were killed out and died out. He also established a horse stud, introducing such blood stallions as Commander, Marquis, Egremont, and Constantine; and several Arabs. Mr. W B. Mitchell managed this stud later, and had a good racing record, both here and in the Eastern States. Mr. Prinsep, with James and A. R. Adam, of Pinjarra, the Toodyay Clarksons, and others were prominent in the early horse trade with India, which died out about 1880. The old studs all seem to have broken away with the brumby mobs in the Darling Ranges. In 1841 the Cliftons, bringing two cows from England, settled at Australind, and the Muirs and Brockmans, ranging in from Albany, were early settlers on that side, with the Hassells, whose shepherds grazed flocks of sheep from the Salt River to Nornalup and the Black- wood. Northward the Burges, Hamersley, Fane, Lockyer Cowcher, Padbury, Clarkson, Wellard. Nairn, McLarty, Viveash, Paterson, Seabrook, and other sheep families of to- day spread from the Williams to the Irwin.
THE ROMANCE OF THE NOR'-WEST
Among the early settlers in Western Australia were two brothers, Messrs. Thomas and Alex. Anderson, who, in 1834, following up the Swan River, came to the Newcastle district, where Mr. Thomas Anderson selected the pick of the country, which was named Mt. Anderson. The Ander- sons however-shrewd, practical Scotchmen-were not alto- gether satisfied with Western Australia, and, like the Hentys, migrated to Victoria, having leased their Mt. An- derson country, which, by the way, finally came into the possession of the Clarkson family at Toodyay, by whom it is held to the present day.
But the Mt. Anderson property was destined to lead to other things. In 1858 the Western Australian Govern- ment despatched surveyor F. T. Gregory to examine the unknown country north of the Irwin. Penetrating to the Lower Gascoyne, he appears to have struck the country during a severe drought, for his reports were sufficiently unfavourable to cause the early settlers to fight shy of that country. In 1861 Gregory was again sent out, this time by sea, in the schooner Dolphin, with a picked party, to land at Nicol Bay, a few miles west of Point Sampson or Cossack, to explore the country in that region. On this occasion the party probably hit a good season, for it was able to traverse the Ashburton. Yule. Shaw, Oakover, and De Grey country, returning via Mundabullanga and Sher- lock Plains to Nicol Bay. His report on this country was eminently favourable, and, in 1862, Thomas Anderson, re- turning to the West to dispose of Mount Anderson, found Mr. Walter Padbury and all the leading men of Perth eagerly discussing the idea of stocking up the ideal pas- toral country described by the explorer. Thomas Ander- son does not seem to have taken any action himself, but he must have been considerably impressed, for on his re- turn to Victoria all the younger members of the squatting families round Portland Bay, seem to have become infected with the idea of migrating from what has since turned out to some of the most valuable country in Australia to the land of Goschen, described by Gregory-in reality a country of glistering heats in the torrid Roebourne terri- tory-as we of a later day know it. Truly an unsatisfac- tory exchange; but only those who have seen the flower gemmed Australian bush in a good season, its vast plains waving with verdure, its rivers studded with deep cool pools, alive with fish, and its abundance of wildfowl and game, know how enchanting the word pictures of even the most unimaginative observer can become. Little won- der, therefore, that some of the flower of younger Vic- toria resolved to try their luck on the broad plains of the Nor'-West. So it was that toward the end of 1864 L. L. Mount, of the Mount, Orkney, and Smith Company, sailed from Melbourne in the barque Aurífera with 1,600 sheep, lauding near Roebourne, with a loss of 500, in December. This party took up country on the De Grey.
HOW ROEBOURNE WAS OPENED OUT.
On March 1, 1865 the Portland Squatting Company left Portland Bay, in the ship Maria Ross, with some horses a waggon, and 1.600 sheep, which were landed at Cossack
after a trip of 27 days, with a loss of only 20. This vessel conveyed the Anderson contribution to the Nor'-West. and a notable party it was, consisting as it did of A. E. Ander- son, whose relations, Messrs. Ross and Tom Anderson, represent him to-day; McKenzie Grant, destined to be part owner of the De Grey Station, owner of Newmarracarra, and father of the Geraldton Grants; John Edgar, later a part-owner of De Grey with A. E. Anderson and A. W Edgar; J. E. Richardson, of Pyramid and Pippingarra; and, lastly, the junior of the party, and now its historian A. R. Richardson, of Serpentine. This party settled on Pyramid Station, near Roebourne.
But it is to Western Australians that the honour of being the very first of the North-West pioneers must be given. And most worthily the pride of place belongs to Mr. Walter Padbury, who, in 1863, shipped to the De Grey 1,600 ewes, some horse and bullock teams, a few cows, a bull, and a stallion. John Wellard founded Andover Sta- tion, near Roebourne, in 1864, and John Withnell was also established at Mount Welcome, on the Harding River, about the same time; shortly after Thomas Lockyer and Taylor started Cooya Pooya.
In 1865 Viveash and Middleton took up Indernoona, the McLeods founded Chiritta, R. L. McKay (uncle of S. P. McKay) started at Mundabullangana, and the country began to be opened up in all directions. Some of the Victorians returned to their own country, where, in most cases, they did better than those who remained in the
THE DAYS OF THE EARLY DE GREY.
In 1868 Padbury, finding the De Grey more expensive to build up than he had calculated, abandoned the coun- try, and young Edward Roberts (a lad of 20) was selected to drove the sheep 1,200 miles overland through unknown country to Berkshire Valley. That fine colonist was equal to the occasion, too. and reached his destination after a seven months trip.
In 1871 McKenzie Grant and A. E. Anderson, who had left the Portland Squatting Company in 1868, with their share of the sheep, after unsuccessfully trying to leave the North-West by overlanding to the south (they were only blocked by dry roads), finally decided, since they could not go south, to go north, and take up Padbury's abandoned De Grey country. Where Padbury failed they were now to succeed, although it is recorded that for years they made more money out of pearling than from their station-as did a good many of the pioneers. After this the late Chas. Harper joined the De Grey partnership, which then became Grant, Harper, and Anderson, till Harper sold out to John and A. W. Edgar; by degrees
MAP OP THE STATE SHOWING THE STOCK PRODUCING AREAS AND THEIR COMPARATIVE VALUES.
the station came to be owned by Grant, Edgar, and Co., tiil it was finally sold to Mr. Mark Rubin, of London, a few years ago.
The success of the De Grey Station brought along the Hardies, A. W. Edgar, and the younger Andersons from Victoria; Messrs. M. Corbett, Wm. and Chas. Ball, and Christopher Coppin were among the next to arrive) and the De Grey map began to fill up as in the Roebourne
CHAS. BROCKMAN-FOUNDER OF THE GASCOYNE.
In 1872 Chas Brockman explored the Mount Magnet country, and, liking it, tried to organise a party to take up a station there, but was unable to obtain any financial assistance. He therefore determined to try the Gascoyne, but it was not till 1876 that he was able to visit that coun- try, his horses being supplied by Mr. Chas. Fane, of the Irwin. He discovered Mount Clere, worked up as far as Cape North-West, named the Minilya and Lyndon rivers, and took up country on both those rivers and at Boola- thana. J. H. Monger and Aubrey Brown actually estab- lished the first flock of sheep on the Gascoyne in 1876, as Brockman did not stock Boolathana (with 3,000 sheep) till 1877. Here he was successful j and in 1873 he also started Minilya Station with 7,000 sheep. Boolathana passed to his brother. John Brockman, at a later date, and finally into the hands of the present owners, Messrs. J. and C. Butcher. Similarly Minilya was sold ta Mr Julius Brockman, who in turn sold out to Mr. D. N. McLeod. Charles Brockman him- self retired to a well-known estate on the Blackwood River near Balingup.
As with the De Grey country, Brockman's success brought along John Brockman, of Boolathana; G. J. Gooch,
of Wandagee; R. E Bush, of Clifton Hill, Bidgimia, and Mount Clere, and J. Fitzpatrick, of Dairy Creek; and led to the successful development of the Carnarvon district of to-day-adding another province to the territory occupied
by Western Australia.
The remaining pastoral division south of the tropics the Murchison-was first explored by an employee on the Bowes Station, near Geraldton, named Thos. Perks, who, on holiday trips in the bush, penetrated as far as Tallerang, Yuin, and Gabyon. Thos Burges, the owner of the Bowes impressed by his story of the country, despatched him to Yuin in charge of a flock of sheep, which did so well that Mr. Burges took up the country. In 1873 Mr. Burges and (the then) young Edward Wittenoom took up Murgoo; and in 1875 Messrs E- and F. Wittenoom leased from Mr Burges Yuin Station and 15,000 sheep. Later the Witte- nooms and Perks took up Boolardy, Nookawarra, and Mil- eura, selling Mileura to the Walshs, while Murgoo, after being purchased by Maloney, finally came into the posses- sion of the present owners, Atkins Bros. Yuin, reverting to the Burges family, is to-day owned by Wm. Burges, of Perth. The two Wittenooms, who pioneered most of the country, have both lived to see the Murchison grow into prominence as a beautiful sheep country, splendidly watered by shallow wells, and growing perhaps the brightest and cleanest wool produced by any hot and dry purely pastoral district outside agricultural areas in Australia. Such clips as Murgoo, Woolgorong. Yuin, Gabyon, and Boolardy have, for years past, topped the market for wools grown on pastoral country in Western Australia. Indeed, so far
as the present writer can judge, they easily beat any wools in the Eastern States grown on bush country with a similar
So, in brief terms, was the North and North-West opened out. Let it not be imagined that the process was an easy one, or that the pioneers had no difficulties to face Mr A. B. Richardson the historian of the country, in his book, "Early Memories of the Great Nor'-West"-which has been extensively used in compiling this narrative-men- tions many names among the arrivals on the North-West coast in tile early days which have not survived their ex- perience of drought, of flood, of financial stringency, or of those other difficulties which must be met and faced be- fore success can be achieved in the Never-Never. Those who have seen thousands of sheep lost in a single day through floods, through weak shorn sheep experiencing a sudden frosty night of intense cold, through poison, or through rushing salt water, know what such losses mean.
And no one who has been through one of the big droughts can ever forget the dejection which must be fought down as the weary months and years pass by on the parched bare runs: the gaunt and hopeless looking cattle and horses patiently dragging on to the end; the famished sheep, hump-backed and staring with poverty, crawling to the waters and dying by the way ; or the desolate melancholy of the silent endless bush. Let those who imagine the pas- toralist has only to go North with some sort of a cheque hook face these things, in their reality, and they may un- derstand what sort of courage and what sort of a purse, and what sort of a big heart, are necessary to pull a run through a long drought.
Relatively, perhaps, the Western Australian pastoralist has been fortunate. He enjoys a rather better rainfall than his friends in Central Australia, South-Western Queensland, or Western New South Wales. The country is better watered, with more shallow wells and artesian country. And most of it enjoys communication by sea, ?hich ensures some regularity in the arrival of mails and stores. But it was still difficult enough to open up. Originally it was cut off by 800 to 1.000 miles of little known country from the settlement round Geraldton, and overlanding was only possible in most favourable seasons. Communication by sea was very uncertain, as the small sailing craft of the early days sometimes took 30 and 40 days (and even longer) in a voyage from Fremantle to the nor'-West coast. Sometimes they struck one of the un- charted reefs or encountered a willy-willy, and went down 'with all hands. Many times the settlements were on the verge of starvation; and the difficulty and expense of stocking up the new country by sea was for a long time a great drawback. Originally the net wool return per sheep was only about 2s. 6d. per head, and the country was ter- ribly shut off from markets for fat and surplus stock. The earning power of the runs therefore was painfully small, so much so that we wonder to-day how the pioneers kept going financially at all. They must have had the greatest difficulty in keeping afloat. And those who succeeded fully deserved all they received.
THE FIRST OVERLANDERS
The first lot of stock actually overlanded to the Nor'- west was lifted by Mr. E. T. Hooley, who had taken up some country on the Ashburton, near where Higham's Nanutarra and Forrest's Minderoo stations are now house- hold words. It was in 1867 that he started with a mob of sheep and horses from the Bowes, getting through safely to the Ashburton. Shortly after the brothers Fisher took sheep overland from the Avon Valley; and, as previously related, Edward Roberts succeeded in travelling south from the De Grey to Moora. Later, David Forrest took sheep from the Irwin to the Ashburton, but A. E. Richardson, N. McLeod, and John Hancock, essaying in 1874 to over- land cattle and horses in charge of McLeod and Hancock, struck a dry season, and were unlucky enough to lose part of the mob on the Lyons Hiver, where the cattle were dis- persed in a thunderstorm. It was the chance of these cattle and their progeny which, running wild on the Mur- chison, was later purchased bv that king of bushmen, the
late Chas. Smith, which laid the foundation of his fortune. H. W. Venn was successful in overlanding horses all the way from Dardanup to his Karratha Station, near Roe- bourne, but Henry Clarkson, travelling cattle about the same time, was murdered, by the blacks-a fate which over- took many an old Nor'-Wester. His cattle, however, were collected and delivered near Roebourne by one of the Brockmans. These leaders having opened the tracks, over landing soou became general, and the stocking up of the country proceeded apace.
NANNINE TO NULLAGINE.
In the easterly country, by this time, the Butchers had opened up Moorarie and Beeringarra, in 1876 and 1877. Chas. Smith and the McKays were pushing out to Ethel Creek, Milgan and Roy Hill; Frank Wittenoom had taken up Belele aud sold it to Ernest Lee Steere and J. B. Roe (about 1880) ; and Grant, Anderson and Co. had started Warrawagine, which was afterwards sold to the Darlots, passing back, quite recently, to Mark Rubin, who now holds (includinff Mulyie) all the original country pioneered by Grant and Anderson in the 'seventies.
Thus we complete this brief survey of the occupation of the North-West. It was a big country when it was first tackled. It is a big country still, and there is still open «country out there which is gradually coming into use. The old shepherding days began to pass away when, in 1878, Grant and Anderson began to use wire fencing, ever since when modern methods of development have gradually fol- lowed. Wells have been put down in thousands; wind- mills have revolutionised water drawing; paddocks have made good runs out of bad ones. Modern stations, equipped with motor cars for quick passenger transport: motor bicycles for internal oversight of the wells and windmills, and push bikes for much of the boundary riding are strange contrasts to the conditions of only 10 and 20 years ago when we still plodded along somehow with horses. In- deed the horse and still more so the much blasphemed bul- lock of our young days-is almost passing away, as the camel and the donkey are being used more, and more for carting station stores and wool. The Nor'-West, Gascoyne and Murchison are now carrying fully three million sheep, and their final capacity will still take many years to put to
NORTHWARD TO KIMBERLEY
So the tide of pastoral settlement has moved on, and we pass northward to the Kimberleys to read another tale of adventure, of success, and of vast flocks and herds in a vast tropical territory. Here we meet with the name of Alex. Forrest, who, acting for the Government, explored the Fitzroy, Ord, and Margaret rivers in 1879, and reported the presence of good country all along the route. Up to this time the failure of an attempt, in the early 'sixties, to stock the Broome country with sheep seems to have de- flected attention from Kimberley. Several parties had landed at Camden Harbour, and as early as 1864 the Roe- buck Bay Pastoral and Agricultural Association. Ltd., was formed, by a Perth syndicate, to start a sheep station near Broome. But the sheep did not thrive on the coarse feed, two of the party were murdered by the natives, and finally the country was abandoned. After this the tide of settle- ment flowed in other directions.
On receipt of Alex. Forrest's report, establishing be- yond doubt the presence of magnificent country on the Fitzroy, squatting circles began to discuss the country afresh and in 1880 we find that sterling colonist. A. R Richardson, making history afresh in organising the Mur- ray Squatting Company to open up a sheep station on the Fitzroy. The members were Messrs. Wm. Paterson. Geo. Paterson, and Hamlet Cornish, all of Pinjarra ; S. R. L. Elliott and A. R. Richardson. Chartering a vessel, the company shipped a flock of sheep from Fremantle to Beagle Bay, and later on secured from Pyramid Station 1,300 ewes and some draught horses. Mr. Richardson does not seem to have accompanied the party, which consisted of the other four members of the syndicate and T. McAtie. They took up Yeeda Station, but after giving the country a fair trial it was decided that as the natural grasses did not suit sheep they should sell out. The station was ac- cordingly sold to Mr. A. Game, of London, who still holds it, and also Myroodah. Mr. Richardson went up to give delivery, and Mr G. C. Rose, the first of that familv to reach Kimberley (now the owner of Mt. Anderson Station near Derby), managed the place in the early days for
The pioneers of West Kimberley all appear to have been obsessed with the first idea of stocking the countrv with sheep. The two Emanuels shipped sheep from Svd- ncv, and the Kimberley Pastoral Company (J. and W. McLarty managers), thc Meeda River Pastoral Company (J. H. Monger and Co. owners, Wm. Lukin manager), and King's Sound Pastoral Company (Jas. Munro, of Melbourne, owner, Wm. Forrester manager), all seem to have opened out with sheep. Most of the country was more suitable for cattle. In the short tropical rainv season the grasses grow up to six feet high, after which, as the dry months come on, they are useless for an animal like the close nibbling sheep, which likes a short, sweet feed. Portions of West Kimberley suit the sheep, and such stations as Noon konbah, Liveringa, Myroodah, Quambun, and Mt. Ander- son all carry sheep today; but since the early days it is bv stocking with cattle that the bulk of the country has progressed. One Kimberley firm (M. C. Davies and Sons.
Ltd.), after trying sheep for many years on their Kim- berley Downs Station, last year cleared out the whole lot
and turned cattle on the run.
ENTER THE DURACKS AND EMANUELS.
At this point the history of West and East Kim- berley become interwoven. It was in 1881 that two mem- bers of an old Eastern squatting family-the roving and re- solute Duracks--arriving in Perth, met Alex. Forrest, and heard his description of the country; and they, losing no time, promptly took up big stretches of the country in both East and West Kimberley. They then organised in New South Wales an exploring party to go through the terri- tory, the funds being contributed principally by the elder Emanuel, father of Messrs. I. and S. Emanuel, and Patrick Durack, the head of the Durack clan. Young Michael Durack led the party, and Thos. Kilfoyle and S. Emanuel were among the members who accompanied it. Travelling to Darwin in the Tolmer, they chartered the sailer Levuka to Cambridge Gulf, where they landed and worked down the Ord River through West Kimberley to Beagle Bay, experiencing a very hard time. Returning to Sydney, the enterprising Duracks were soon moving again, for in 1883 Patrick Durack, sen., started John Durack overland from Queensland with 2,500 breeding cattle, and just behind him a drover named Moore with 1,500 more. Durack, Kil- foyle, and Hays also started 2,000 breeders, followed by Lumley Hill and Michael Durack's mob of 2,000, in charge of M. J. Durack. Kilfoyle started Rosewood Sta- tion, now owned by the Kilfoyles and Holmes Bros.; M. J. Durack's mob went to Lissadell, in which M. J. Durack, of Claremont, is still interested ; and Patrick Durack's sons are now the owners of Argyle and other large stations in East Kimberley, the proprietary having merged into the well-known firm of Connor. Doherty, and Durack, Ltd. Tiie firm also conducts a large general business in Wynd- ham, which has become the port of East Kimberley.
To West Kimberley, after a three years trek overland from Queensland (all these overlanded mobs saw rough times and lost heavily), came the brothers Chas, and Wm. McDonald, of Goulburn, New South Wales, with some 450 cattle (the survivors of a large mob), which were used to start Fossil Downs Station-still owned by the McDonalds. The McDonalds reached their destination in 1885. About 1882 or 1883 cattle were also brought over- land from the North-West of this State by Julius Brock- man and the McLartys. Later the Edgars, Game, and Collins also overlanded cattle, and by 1890 both East and West Kimberley had made a good start, from which the Kimberleys have never looked back. East Kimberley has been severely hampered by the cattle tick trouble (which has, unfortunately, spread quite lately to West Kimberley), but the Copleys and Paterson have sold out of their sta- tions to Vestey Bros. at a big profit. Victoria River Downs also sold well, and the other East Kimberley cattle men will all do well when the Wyndham freezers start opera-
GROWTH OF THE KIMBERLEYS.
The progress of the Kimberleys as a cattle country has been very marked. We have seen that in the early 'nineties there were very few cattle in the country, while at the end of 1916 the official figures show that after feeding Perth and the southern markets for nearly 20 years, and after selling large numbers of cattle for many years past to Java and Queensland, there are now 600,000 cattle in West and East Kimberley. When it is remembered that there are huge areas of country up there still unstocked, and that there is still room for any amount of development on the occupied territory, it can be realised how great is the potential value of our most northern dependency. The drawbacks are the blacks, who are very troublesome on the frontier ; the difficulty of getting labour, the big floods, fever, and the high costs of marketing the fat cattle.
During the short life of West Kimberley the Emanuels have become enormously wealthy, and the smaller owners have mostly done well. As a typical case we might in- stance the Blythe family and its progress. In 1865-70 the father, Joseph Blythe, worked as a farmhand for Mark Padbury at Balingup for a wage of 50s- per month, on which royal stipend he married, and-incredible to relate- started farming at Balingup. In 1875 the family moved to the Warren, but, not liking that country, trailed on to Nannup to a farm of 300 acres of freehold and a biggish pastoral lease. Here they ran cows, bred cattle, raised crops to sell to the timber mills, and broke in their steers to haul for the mills. The children did the milking, the big boys helped punch the bullocks. Ten years afterwards the family went to Derby in the steamer Natal (1885), and built the first hotel there, having accumulated well over £2,500 in 10 years' farming-plus the value of the farm, which they traded away to McAtee (one of the Pater- son's original party) for cattle in Kimberley to stock up
the country they had taken up on the Fitzroy. At first the family ran the hotel, and the boys went out working and teamstering, taking up leaseholds by degrees, which were stocked bv the gradual purchase of 700 cattle from 1889 to 1896. In 1905 Chas. Blythe took over Brooking Station and 2,000 cattle, and Blythe Bros. took Mount House and 6,000 cattle. Seven years afterwards Chas. Blythe, who had meanwhile bought Oscar Range from Mr. A- W. Edgar, sold out for well over £40.000; and Mount House to-day would bring nearly double that amount. It would be difficult to find another case in the State where a practical, industrious family has reaped so great a reward in a quarter of a century. Let it not be imagined that success came easily, for in Kimberley, as everywhere, many are called but few are chosen. And if the best and strongest of the pioneers do reap a reward, after fighting for 25 years in a tropical climate with fever, with floods 20 to 60 miles wide overwhelming the stock, and enduring all the difficulties of coping with the wild niggers and handling cattle on enormous areas with inadequate labour, rations, and equipment-well it is surely onlv as it should
DISPERSAL OF NOR'-WEST CATTLE.
Our very much bovrilised history has now sketched the development of the Kimberleys as a cattle province, and the Murchison, Gascoyne, and North-West as a sheep coun- try, but there is one feature of the latter territory which has not been touched upon. Originally the squatter on the Gascoyne, Murchison, or De Grey, owning 250,000 acres and upwards of pastoral leases (less than that area is too small in that country), had perhaps 50,000 to 100.000 acres fenced and stocked with sheep. On the outside un- fenced country he ran cattle, so that 20 years ago there (were large numbers of cattle in the Nor'-West. As sheep .paid better, there began a general rush to sell the cattle for what they would fetch; the proceeds went into more fencing and more sheep. So that, for many years, Perth and Kalgoorlie were fed bv the forced sale of "these cattle, and the rise in beef during tlie last year or two is princi plly due to the growing shortage of beef for summer con- sumption consequent upon the total disappearance of the bulk of the old herds in the North. No doubt the current nigh prices for beef and for store cattle for fattening will induce owners to go back to breeding a few cattle on the sheen runs, as it is now certain that the low prices for cattle have passed away, and remunerative prices for beef will ?always be obtainable.
EXPORT FOR THE KIMBERLEYS AND NORTH-WEST
This is a difficult question, which will doubtless provide its own solution. Works at Derby and Carnarvon should pay when the time is ripe, and a small plant at Geraldton will be required. It is. however, too early yet to deal more definitely with this subject till after the war.
THE SOBER AND SOMBRE SOUTH.
With the conclusion of our flying survey of the pastoral areas it must be confessed that the remaining chapter the development of the South-West province-lacks the
interest attaching to the big Bpaces away north and the :bJg men who penetrated them. For it is characteristic, all over Australia, that the bolder spirits range forth into the wilds, and the cautious, moderate, and normal types stick to the settled districts and the nurse and doctor of domes licit v. Similarly, the life is normal and laborious. No fortune in two or three good seasons of glorious luck, nor ruination in a long agony of drought, but a life of patient and continuous effort-here a little, there a little-a few ¡hundred acres cleared and a few hundred stock acquired the only result of a lifetime of toil.
The acreage cleared gives some idea of the develop- ment of the South-West in the absence of stock figures. In 1870 the total area under crop was 54,527 acres; in 1880 it was 63,902 acres; in 1890 it was 69,678 acres. By 1900 the activity resulting from the discovery of gold had increased the area to 201,338 acres. We pass over this iperiod of virtual stagnation
It is since 1900 that the South-West division has fouud itself, and has been quickened into real life. Tlie whole ¡efforts of the people and of the Governments of Western 'Australia have been devoted, during the last two decades, to fostering agricultural settlement in our safe rainfall country. Millions of money have been loaned to farmers through the Agricultural Bank. Millions more have been spent in railroads, roads, surveys, and in gratuitous assist- ance to agriculture generally through the medium of the Departments of Laud, Public Wor.ks, and Agriculture. Over twenty million acres of land have been alienated, and up to two million acres have been put under cultivation, so that the State has something to show for its expendi- ture-although, as we all know to-day, that expenditure, in the absence of the necessary increase in population, is well (nigh crippling the. country. How different has been the treatment accorded to the pastoralist and grazier! To him the Governments of Western Australia have proffered ?practically no assistance. Gregory and Alex. Forrest con- ducted a couple of exploring expeditions (as we have |seen), and it is recorded that one or two of the more fortunate local stocking-up parties were allowed the use of a few natives, a ketch or two, aud a few car- bines. In our time Mr- Mitchell brought into the State a few breeding ewes and dairy cows, which were principally supplied to the subsidised Agricultural Bank clients. This clientele has also received 6ome general as- sistance from the State towards purchasing stock through the bank. But the genuine grazier gets no assistance- He ¡has, from the birth of the State, developed himse'.f. And it begins to look to-day as if he is to be called unon to pay for the other fellow, in addition to establishing1 his own in- dependence. It is not that wc do not welcome the estab- lishment of agriculture and the general development of thc State, but we do not often have the opportunity of pointing out the contrasts, in not only the Western Australian but the Australian attitude of Governments towards the pas-
toralist and grazier.
THE FIGURES OF DEVELOPMENT.
We now append beneath the statistical growth of our flocks and herds from 1829 onwards:
Horses. Cattle. Sheep. Pigs. 1829 . 57 204 1,469 106 1840 . 506 2,318 30,961 1,533 1850 . 2,635 13,074 128,111 3,190 1860 . 9,555 32,476 260,136 10,991 1870 . 22,174 45,213 608,892 12,927 1880 . 34.568 63,719 1,231,717 24,232 1890 . 44,384 130,970 2,524,913 28,985 1900 . 68,253 338,590 2,434,311 61,740 1910 . 134,114 825,040 5,158,516 57,628
1914 . 161,625 863,865 4,456,186 59,816* 1916 . 169,226 863,920 5,529,960 90,758
*End of 1910-14 drought.
Comparatively, our development has been slow, and it is only since 1900 that this country has forged ahead rapidly. By 1890 the Eastern States, with far greater population and capital, more compact territories to work, with better trans Îiort, stock routes, and richer country, owned over 100 mil-
len sheep- At that time New South Wales alone owned over 60 millions, Queensland over 20 millions» and even South Australia (with similar difficulties to our own) pos- sessed over 6even millions. To-day, after the disastrous losses of 1914-15, New South Wales is down to 33,516,412 sheep and 2,245,225 cattle; Queensland, 15.245,508 sheep and 4,591,644 cattle; South Australia to about four million sheep: while the totals in the Eastern States are reduced to about 65 million sheep and 8 million cattle. To under- stand fully the Eastern figures, it must be recollected that, «ince 1890, the development of the export trade in froiscv meat has enabled the East to work up before tha war an .annual export of about 31 million sheep and lambs and 330,000 cattle. This has kept down the increase consider-
LIVESTOCK IN THE SOUTH-WESTERN DISTRICTS.
The following table shows the number of horses, cattle, sheep and pigs, in the districts comprising the South-West
Division of the State :
Horses. Cattle. Sheep. Pigs. Swan .... 13,469 14,361 55,628 7,527 Wellington 6,830 11,395 70,664 3,924 Sussex .. 7,014 13,526 77,995 2,989 Northam .. 21,136 6,591 233,232 22,833 York .. .. 9,350 2,688 174,684 12,751 Beverlev .. 5,696 1,601 132,927 4,165 Pingelly .. 6,479 1,881 104,572 4,083 Narrogin .. 6,460 2.353 144,288 3,966 Wagin .... 7,204 2,380 171,946 3,922 Katanning . 7,204 2,646 201,928 3,031 Tambellup .. 6,016 2,020 204,496 1,611 Plantagenet 3,861 3,587 76,480 2,030
Total ... 122,064 88,816 2,480,764 84,194
FUTURE OF SHEEP AND CATTLE.
Here we should be able to speak confidently and briefly. Our stockmen have blazed the trails, opened out the coun- try, established themselves firmly, and have nothing but a promising future ahead. The stock industry of thc State is solid and strong; only time and development are neces- sary to complete the task of stocking up. What the State .will ultimately carry no man living can say, but it is quite safe to count on doubling our present numbers. Some au- thorities consider we will treble them, and we do not quar- rel with even that estimate, as in any case we can antici- pate enough increase to keep us all going during our time. Financially, tho future is bright. As a result of the war, the fighting nations are short by over 20 million cattle, and, although Brazil, with 30 million cattle, and Rhodesia are coming on to the world's beef market, it is known that the world's population is increasing faster than the beef sup- ply, and that the future of good prices is assured. The same remarks apply to mutton and lamb, while the pre-war prices for wool were the highest in our generation, and were abundantly satisfactory to the Australian grower whoever he was- There may be, it is true, temporary set .backs before the financial problems at the close of the war ere adiustcd, but statistically the position of wool and meat is sound enough to place the ultimate issue beyond doubt.
THE FARMER'S STOCK.
Of the total stock in the State the farmer in the South West owns 122,664 horses, 88,816 cattle, 2,480,764 sheep, and 84,194 pigs. We have dealt fully with the future of his sheep and beef cattle, and we have left his horses, his fat lambs, his dairy cattle, and his pigs, with all of which we
can deal in order
THE HORSE ON THE FARM.
There seems to be no possibility of the success of any kind of motor traction on our type of farm lands, and
everything still points to the continued use of the horse in .farming. We cannot count on this entirely, for as our lab- our supply slows down and fails us, we must adopt any form of labour-saving which offers itself, and the horse must go if inventive genius surmounts the problems con ïronting the motor on the farm. We must also remember that, in breeding horses, the grower cannot expect to ex- port any surplus, and that he has only the local demand to supply. Plainly, therefore, in such a position, the farmer's policy ÍB simple-to breed enough for his own requirements and to breed only the best. In a small market only the best Bells to advantage, when a sale is necessary; and if one breeds at all it is as well to let the other fellow breed the .second-raters. We have fortunately been importing the very finest types of draught stock for many years past, and we have, within the State, plenty of good blood to work upon; and we are not yet breeding enough draughts to supply our requirements-particularly the best and most expensive types, which all come still from the East. As regards light horses, which the motors are displacing all over Australia, the same remarks hold good- To put the matter in a nutshell, anything light which is bred should be worth breeding-or it should not be bred.
Up to the present Perth and Kalgoorlie have always been the best markets for our lambs, the worst local prices we have ever íeceived being well above export levels. But iwe are now rapidly approaching the export stage. For- tunately the demand-apart from temporary dislocation fol- lowing the war-is assured, and at good prices. London values in July, 1914 were 5|d. per lb. for Australian lamb; these were then worth in the Melbourne carcase market 14s.
for prime heavy lambs and 11s. to 13s. for good ordinary qualities. These quotations mean good paying rates to our growers, and on our warm jam and forest lands, with our mild winter, we can produce as good a fat lamb as any country when once our farmers learn to keep only a fine big, roomy crossbred ewe, to use only the best sires, and to avoid over-stocking. There will be no trouble to find a .market, no trouble to get the lambs exported when the time arrives; but, believe me, my reader, there will be plenty of trouble to find really prime, well-shaped export lambs-until our growers are better educated as to what an export lamb really is. It is at just this point that our (agricultural propagandists can start, right now, to prepare the grower for the future.
We have only 54,000 female cattle altogether in the South-West. of which probably very little more than 20,000 are milch cows, and we have to supply a local population of 300,000 and a limitless export demand. At present we import the bulk of our butter and an enormous quantity of tinned milks. In the face of all this, we have wise folk inquiring how to produce more butter and milk! It is simple enough: we have not the necessary cows- They take a long time to breed, and still longer to become milk and cream producers. We cannot buy any except at fancy prices (which we can't afford), as the rest of Australia is also short, and is wealthy enough to bid higher for its re- quirements than we can. All that is left for us to do is to encourage all our farmers to grow more cows and to as- sist in the establishment of butter factories to handle farmers' cream. Always remembering. two things-that a factory must handle the product of 800 to 1,000 cows to pay, and that whatever dairying is done here must be a side line, since we have very little country suitable for legitimate dairying; on the Victorian scale; and side-line dairying is essentially the province of the thrifty farmer's family. South Australia is the home of such side-line dairying; and wherever it is carried on the farmers are solid and the families are comfortable.
PIGS AND BACON.
Reference to the statistical growth of our live stock will show that, prior to 1916, the State only possessed about 60,000 pigs. The annual product of these was consumed as pork the price for which was always higher than bacon curers could pay. while it did not pay a grower to fatten a porker (40 to 85 lb.) to bacon weight (100 to 140 lb.), lu 1915-1916, partly owing to the general scarcity of meat caused by the local drought, and partly owing to the tre- mendous shortage of pigs during the 1914-15 drought in tlie Eastern States, both local pork and imported bacon rose to unheard-of prices, and our farmers began pig breeding in earnest, with the result that we have now 9«>,000 pigs in the country, or enough to contribute an an- nual surplus of pigs of bacon sizes and weights. Several bacon curers have now commenced business, and a small quantity of bacon is being made locally in the face of cer- tain difficulties- Our growers, unfortunately, do not know how to get up a bacon pig, which must be just perfect in make, shape, age, and condition to compete with the per- fect bacon from Melbourne, Sydney, and Queensland.
For there is no export trade in bacon or pork from Australia, and the Commonwealth must sell its surplus within its borders, Western Australia being its best inar- ki 1. Consequently there is only a sale for the best brands, and the Eastern bacon curer who made a poor grade ar- ticle died out many years ago. And when our factories sfo.rted here they speedily found that bacon made from thin, slabby, ill-shapen pigs was not ranked by the local distributing trade as bacon at all. To make good bacon h«?re the factories must buy suitable pigs; and if these are not procurable they must buy the best available and fatten them up at their own expense. This means that a factory handling 1O0 pigs a week might have to keep 400 to 500 pigs on hand in the fattening styes, where the Vic- torian bacon curer can receive 100 pigs one day and kill them out the nezt. It adds to our manufacturing costs, diminishes the price paid to the grower, and makes the introduction of our bacon on this market a more difficult matter.
We still import huge quantities of bacon and hams from the East, and our farmers have this market for all tho surplus they can produce for some years to come, but there is still one factor which must receive due considera- tion. The farmer in the Eastern States is able, in normal times, to produce bacon pigs at from 4d. to 5d. per lb. ot the best, and even lower prices than these rule at times These pigs are produced largely in the rich dairying coun- try, where skim milk, fortified with a little meal and grain, produce« ideal pork. Here we have not the same advantages; our feed is principally wheat; wheat is expen- sive; the pig would thrive better on a mixed diet; and the question as to whether, say, 5d. per lb. at Midland Junc- tion will pay our growers is one which must be faced.
Taking all things into account, it is prudent to pause before putting much money into pigs in this State. Like horses, the great weakness in the pig industry is the im- possibility of any export trade. Like horses, every farmer should keep a few; but he must not keep too many. Our producers' real objective should be breeding ewes and dairy cows, with some horses, to grow feed for the stock, or grain for the old world, and a few pigs to clean up the scaveng- ings of the farm.
EXPORT OF THE FARM SURPLUS.
There is really no need to worry about this-the last feature of successful Australasian stock husbandry. The State needs modern export works at Fremantle in readi- ness for the first glut in our sheep and lamb markets, which cannot (November 6, 1917) be far distant. The preliminary expense of such works need not be great say .£50,000 to Ü70.000 at the outside- And there are plenty of operators willing to erect them if our Govern
meut iß not prepared to do so. What is BOW required is pressure from the constituencies to urge the Government
1. To declare its policy respecting the erection of
freezing and canning works, with oleo aud by-pro- ducts plant complete.
2. To insist that such works, if built by the State,
should be erected by the expert engineers and the de- signers who have built the big works in the East, so that there shall be no possibility of our amateur Public Works Department getting the opportunity of building inefficient works at ridiculous costs.
3. To vest the control in an Abattoirs and Saleyards
Trust, with a board of management adequately re- presenting the growers, the traders, and the Govern- ment, so that the whole control of our abattoirs and saleyards shall be under business control.
With this addition to the marketing facilities our growers may face the future with the serene knowledge that we have the country to produce aboundiug wealth for our chil- dren's children, and all the means and methods to make the best of our products.