(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)
Devil's River, 20th March, 1856.
I have frequently observed in the columns of the Argus glowing accounts of the rise and progress of various townships and places throughout the different parts of the country, and this is so far praiseworthy as, in my opinion nothing enhances more the value of a neighborhood than to place it in its proper light before the public.
Our neat little township of Mansfield seems to be treated by its inhabitants and others around with silent respect, as none have yet ventured to say a word either in favor or against it ; perhaps there are reasons for this silence. I myself feel reluctant say much of a place so very young : how- ever, a few words, if it do no good, can do but little harm. It is but little more than twelve months since the Government surveyed and sold the land here, and it is surprising the quantity of land already occupied and fast being brought under cultivation. The town- ship itself is not progressing so rapidly as the surrounding neighborhood, notwithstanding it already can boast of a first-rate inn, in full operation, two blacksmiths' shops, a tailor, and various storekeepers and other inhabi- tants ; and last, though not least, through the instrumentality, energy and perseverance of Mr. James Walker, overseer for A. Chenery,
Esq., we have the handsome sum of £300 sub-
scribed for the purpose of building a public schoolhouse, the said schoolhouse also to answer
the purpose of a church for holding Divine
Service on the Lord's Day. The beauty of the surrounding neighborhood of Mansfield is far beyond my ability to describe : suffice it to say that a gentleman who had travelled a great deal in Europe said he had never met with such beautiful scenery. If the traveller be coming from Melbourne, on passing the sta- tion of Messrs. Highett and Govett he then enters fine open country, undulating and dotted here and there with honey- suckle trees and other shrubs. Passing a little further on he comes to the residence of A. Crockett, Esq, beautifully situated on the south bank of Ford's Creek, and not far from the township. The land all round here is very good, and well adapted for agricul-
tural purposes. Mr. Crockett tells me that he has this year sixty-five to seventy bushels of oats per acre ; also the wheat grown on different farms has produced fine samples both for quantity and quality. The fact of a steam flour mill being in the course of erection at Benalla will, I fancy, cause three times the quantity of land to be brought under cultivation this en- suing year. But here, Sir, I must not omit to mention a grievance which is loudly complained of by the farmers generally, and, I think, not without reason, A number of our second-class squatters and overseers on squatting stations make it a practice of grow- ing produce on Government land to supply the market, overstepping, as it were, the pri- vilege that was granted to the squatters some years ago of growing sufficient grain, &c., to supply their respective stations, at the same time not to sell, under a penalty of £50. These gentry, however, can undersell the bona fide farmer, as they can plough with the teams belonging to the station, and in like manner go through all the farming operations with the men on the establishment, thus enabling them to sell very low, as what they can get is nearly all profit. This
practice ought to be stopped at once.
With regard to our gold fields I can say but little, not having been at any of them myself, but as far as report goes the diggers are find- ing gold but whether in quantities to pay I cannot say. However, it is the opinion of many that it only requires numbers of diggers, and they think that a gold-field will be ulti- mately discovered.
You will see by the advertisement that our races are to come off shortly. Great sport is expected. Horses, I hear, are coming from all quarters. There is to be a race dinner on a large scale ; tickets, £1 2s. It is to be hoped that they may pass off without any of those accidents which sometimes happen at race meetings, and it would also be cause for thankfulness
if none of that brutish exhibition so disgrace- ful to the performers may be indulged in.—I allude to the performance at the last race meeting at Melton, when all the respectable people were obliged to retire from the scene.
I fear I have trespassed too much on your columns already, and will reserve my further thoughts for a future correspondence.