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A STATION ON GOLDFIELDS, I
About the best answer to the oft repeated cry that the goldfields of the State-the Eastern fields-is a wilderness and desert, will be fouud in thc pascoial holding of Sturt Meadows, situated be- tween Leonora and Lawlers. The owners of tbc station are Messrs. H. Manuel and Co., and the partners inthe enterprise arc Mr. Harry Manuel aud Mr. Phillips, M.L.A. The managing partner. Mr. Manuel, is a South Australian by birth, faut had considerable experience in stock and pastoral pursuits in Queensland and New Soutn Wales before coming to West- era Australia. He did a tee of droving of stock for the goldfields in thc early days of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, n:id when bringing mobs of cattle down via Lawlers and Leonora, observed the splen- did feed and good water on the stock route between the towns just mentioned. He took up country under pastoral lease, bought out two men who had leased country around watering places, paying them £1,400 for their rights, and has now leased for twenty-one years from the State 570,000 acres. The boundary of the run goes to within eleven miles of Leonora railway station, where sheep and
cattle can be trucked to the markets. For about twenty-five miles the -station runs along thc Lawlers Road, and then goes west to a chain of lakes and takes in part of a b'17, salt lake, which comes in at the south-west corner of the property. The chief feature of thc run is the splen- did^ water to be found on almost any part
of it. On the western side there are a
series of lagoons which hold water ali the year round. At one point these water holes have had a good supply for stock for 15 months. Towards the Lawlers end of tlie run there are also gcod water holes which in the driest of seasons hold water. There are numerous wells on the run, which arc used for watering stock, none ol which holes are sunk re low 25 feet, and some only 10 feet. Thc wate"r is a little brackish in some cases, bnt for cattle that is a desideratum, as bullocks are fond of it, and thrive better on it than on fresh.water.
Sturt Meadows bas been occupied for seven years. It is a fattening station for stock "purchased in the Norh-West and tiavelled overland to the fields. Fencing has been commenced, and about twenty five miles of 6-wire have been erected at a cost of rather more than £30 a mile. When about 100 miles of fence have been put up, the work of the station will le greatly facilitated, the number of men , considerably reduced, and the anxiety of
the owner who manages the run mucli re- lieved. Near Leonora there is a 20,000 acre paddock which is used for fattening sheep and cattle. Store stock arrive from the north and in three months top up and aro splendid beef for the butchers. Fat bullocks are worth about £30 a head at Sturt Meadows. During the present summer, cattle will bc trucked to the Perth market. Generally there are about 12,000 sheep on the run, and if fattened for market, they fetch about 24s. each. It will bc observed that for beef and mutton the fields constitute the finest market in Australia. The sta- tion being so near the market, the pro- fitable character of the grazing on Sturt Meadows will be easily seen. Since Mr. Manuel took up the country about 10,000 cattle and 25,000 sheep have passed through his hands. Drovers are kept' constantly on the road bringing forward
cattle and sheep-from the Nor'-West; so
as to kee» the goldfields market supplied. About 20 men are in constant employ- ment, either on the station or on the road.
For feed, the country abounds in na- tive grasses, salt bush, mulga, and other herbage, and a drought on Sturt Mea- dows is an unknown quantity. About oO head of horses, besides dairy cows, pigs, etc., are run on the station. The home-
stead is an ideal one. It is built on a ; .dry ridge which in the rainy season is al- j most surrounded by flood waters. . A few ¡ gums form a nice break in the monotony , of mulga scrub,-while, in the season, the ground is covered by a wealth of wild flowers. Sturt pea, etc. Good water is drawn from a well, and a vegetable gar-
den and orcliard aro flourishing, the | wants of the station in vegetàbles being
more than supplied. The dairy yields 1
milk and butter iii abundance. The bouse, which is built of wood and iron, is a fine roomy home, bas a broad verandah on four sides, doors opening from all th<^ rooms on to it,and every door ifmrotected by netting to keep out flics. The venti- lation is.therefore.excellent. Mr. Manuel spent £1,100 upon his house. Near by are the old station buildings, which are built of adobe and wood, a bower shed for vehicles, and the stock yards. The yards are of great strength, and cost about £900 to build. Few runs are so well set up with yards as Sturt Meadows. All the buildings are painted white, and fences divide off the different parts of the homestead. Great care is taken in the management of the station, as Mr. Manuel has kept a diary for tho seven years ho has boen in control of the_pro perty, and every shilling's worth of sup-
plies, et^. sent to the different cattle - camps is kept account of, so as to give the owners an exact record of what ibo various mobs of cattle and sheep are costing, and prices for the slock are fixed
accordingly. All stock sold from Stui^. Meadows to goldfields butchers are dis- posed of for cash. This is found to bo the only satisfactory basis to do business, as in former years, when . promissory notes were accepted, the paper was not always met when it fell due. The home- stead is about 28 miles from the Leonora railway station, and is reached by travai- ling along the Lawlers Road for about 22 miles and turning off at the Diorite King. mine, and a buggy road for five miles completes the journey.
Splendid wool has been shorn on tho station for two years, the wool being sent by rail to Perth for shipment. The first year 3,000 sheep were shorn, and more the second year. Sturt Meadows was tho first pastoral lease to send wool over tho Eastern goldfields railway to Fremantle for shipment to London.