THE TOWNSHIP OF SHEBBEAR.
DEPUTATION TO THE COMMISSIONER OF CROWN LANDS.
A deputation, introduced by Mr. R. Rees, M.P., and consisting of Messrs. W. B. Rounse- vell, M.P., J. Darling, M.P., Smith, G. Shaw, G.W. Colton, W.H. Sharland, F.T. Jones, W.
Barker, L. L. Barker, and P. Dowd, waited upon the Commissioner of Crown Lands (Hon. T. Playford) on Monday afternoon, May 6, to ask that the township of Shebbear, advertised for sale on May 16, might be withdrawn from sale. The deputation pointed out that the township of Shebbear had been previously advertised for sale by the Commissioner's predecessor (Mr. Carr), but upon representations being made that the establishing a Government township as proposed would be an injustice to persons who had taken up land in the township of Yarcowie — only five miles distant — the Com- missioner withdrew the sale. Subsequently, however, a selector — a Mr. Mitchell, who had taken up an agricultural section in the adjoin- ing Hundred of Terowie— established on his selection a private township, which he called Terowie. This, it was said, he had no right to do, but it appeared he put up a public-house, then a blacksmith's shop, and then a store, not withstanding that by so doing he was liable to forfeit his selection. He, however, applied to the late Commissioner of Crown Lands for per- mission to grant a piece of land for a Wes- leyan Chapel, and stated his willingness to contribute £50 towards the erection of the building. Permission was granted, and thus Mitchell's action was practically en- dorsed by the Government ; the township was built upon, and a Government schoolhouse was afterwards erected. The Government subse- quently surveyed a township— Shebbear — at the same place out of the travelling stock road, but on the opposite side of the road to the private township. It was against this action of the Go- vernment that the deputation as representing the residents in the township of Yarcowie and those immediately interested in it protested, as it was stated that land had been taken up there and money expended in building on the promise of the Government that the lands suburban to Yarcowie would be offered for selection, and that no township would be declared within so short a distance as the proposed township of Shebbear. It was pointed out that if the Government declared Shebbear a township they would simply be playing into the hands of Mr. Mitchell by bolstering up his private township to the injury of Yarcowie. It was urged also that if two town- ships were established each would interfere with the other and there would sure to be conflicting interests in reference to the expenditure of public money on them. The multiplication of townships was condemned, and it was considered that the Government had done an unwise and exceptional thing in declaring a township out of a travelling stock reserve, and especially when in the place in question the surveyors in their original surveys had made no provision for a township, showing clearly in the minds of the deputation that it was not contemplated to establish a township as the Government now proposed. Mr. JONES pointed out that travelling in a north-eastern direction from the Burra the first township reached was Hallett, distant 20 miles ; then came Yarcowie, 16 miles beyond ; and then the proposed new township of Shebbear, which was only five miles from Yarcowie. The next Government township beyond that was Launcelot, 12 miles distant. Mr. Playford, in reply, said when he took office he found that his predecessor, Mr. Carr, had withdrawn the township of Shebbear from sale for a time. He had not been in office long before he had numerous applications to have the township again offered for sale. He put off his decision from time to time in order that he might thoroughly look into the corre- spondence on the question, and thus see whether he would be doing an injury to those interested in Yarcowie bv offering Shebbear for sale.
He decided that no injustice would be done, and he would tell the deputation why. Irre- spective of the Government's proposal to survey a township there was the fact that Mr. Mitchell had completed his purchase, and had announced his intention to establish a rival township. Knowing that as that township grew in impor- tance it would require a schoolhouse and other public buildings for the convenience of the people, and that as far as those matters were concerned the Government made no distinction between Government and private townships in providing necessary public buildings, he came to the conclusion that it would be better for the Government to declare a township as proposed, as they could then reserve such blocks as they considered necessary for public requirements, whereas in private townships they had to purchase the land they required. If he withdrew Shebbear from sale, and Mr. Mitchell's township increased in im- portance, as it appeared likely to do, the Government would be bound to provide neces- sary public accommodation, and at a greater cost than if they had the township in their own hands. He had not decided the question with out looking carefully into it, and considering what was likely to promote the interests of the public generally he had recommended the sale of Shebbear. The township was fully five and a half miles from Yarcowie. The deputation seemed to think that in declaring a township opposite a private one the Government had acted in an exceptional manner ; but he pointed out that it had been done at Beautiful Valley, and that instead of the Government playing into the hands of Mr. Davenport and others interested in a private township there they had done the very opposite, and he thought it would be the same in reference to Mr. Mitchell's private town- ship. He could only say that he would allow the matter to rest with the Cabinet, but he should recommend to his colleagues, as he did to the deputation, the advisability of offering Shebbear for sale as a Government township. Mr. Rees pointed out that the Commissioner was labouring under a mistake in supposing that Mr. Mitchell felt that he would be injured by the action the Government proposed to take, as Mr. Mitchell thought it would be to his interests that Shebbear should be offered for sale.