THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1901.
THE FARMERS' WEEK.
Nothing tends to bring city and coun- try into closer touch than the annual ex- hibitions of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society. Their attraction has always been very great, and even in the days when travelling facilities were much less convenient than they are now dwellers in the country came down to Adelaide to compete at the spring and autumn exhibitions, or to ad- mire the triumphs of farm, garden, and pasture set out for their delectation and instruction. As settlement pushed far- ther into the interior railways followed it, so that it is as easy to come 200 miles now as it was to journey a quar- ter of that distance half a century ago. while by the institution of excursion fares the expense is kept within reason- able limits. The metropolis benefits greatly from this periodical influx of country vistors, who, in their turn, re- ceive both pleasure and profit from their short sojourn in the capital. There are numerous sources of education and delight at the show itself, but in other ways benefit is gained and given. The
gatheriug of the producing clans is
taken advantage of to hold congresses of agricultural experts, at which much useful information is disseminated, and in the course of which many valuable ideas receive currency by means of con- versation and discussion. The world moves steadily, and although the soil has been continuously cultivated since Adam was driven out of Paradise and had to earn his bread "by the sweat of his brow.," new and improved methods of inducing it to yield its increase are constantly being promulgated. The successful tiller of the ground who has had to depend entirely on his father's teaching or his own experience is apt to be contemptuous concerning theoretical agriculture, but there is something in science after all, and this fact is annu- ally becoming more clearly recognised, thanks to the influence of the Show and its adjuncts.
It has often been remarked that there is a monotonous sameness about these exhibitions, whether they are held in
Adelaide or in the chief producing cen-
tres. There is an even greater likeness btitween one season and another, as well as be- tween the conditions under which the farmers have to carry on their avoca- tions. The points of difference are, how- ever, sufficient to catch the eye of the observant, and it is just on the ability to perceive these divergences that edu- cation depends. Intelligence, combined with industry, experience, and know- ledge, enables one man to succeed in exactly similar circumstances to those which involve failure to his neighbor. There would be no advantage except to the individual in this diverse treatment of the same conditions were not the community at large given an opportu- nity of judging of its effect. This chance the shows afford, and it is because of the healthy rivalry in the various classes and the enthusiasm with which competitors exert themselves to make clear their proficiency that each recur- ring exhibition manifests at least some slight advancement on its predecessor.
By lectures and papers during show week the producers who attend the congresses aro taught through the ear. The object-lessons on the society's grounds however, appeal to their minds by the shortest route, the eye. Not only is this good work done by the ex- hibits, but by the advertisements. The enterprlse of business firms leads them to seize the medium offered to bring the latest triumphs of invention under the notice of the visitor. The traders of the world are all anxious to obtain custom, and each show is a sort of in- ternatiioual exposition in little. Read- ing has probably made its patrons ac- quainted whh these wonders of mecha- nical and engineering skill, but it is a trite saying that "things seen are mightier than things heard." much of the cash which is spent year by year in prizes and in preparations for the re- ception of the exhibits is provided by the entrance fees of those who by their attendance make the fixtures doubly a success. .A goodly proportion also comes from the State coffers, and no money distributed in this way has more valuable and lasting results than that annually given in subsidies to agricul-
The likeness in the appearance of the successive shows is, after all, only on the surface. A comparison of exhibi- tions held years apart would amply prove how great has been the progress in each decade. Here, for instance, is a record showing the beginning of things taken from that valuable hand-book on South Australia, written by the late Mr. Francis Dutton, and published in
South Australian Agricultural and Horti- cultural Societies having been merged into one permanent body, the first show was held on Wednesday, February 14 (1844), on the park lands between North-terrace and the Frome-bridge. More than 300 names appeared on the subscription-list, and £146 was thus collected. Nearly 1,200 persons paid for admission, and a sum was received which paid all expenses, and left a balance in the treasurer's hands. The prizes of- fered were trom £10 10/ to 10/6 in value. The report states that in wheat, barley and oats there was considerable compe- tition, but all from districts lying in or near Adelaide. The prize wheat, which weighed 66 lb. 6 oz. to the bushel, came from Chain of Ponds, the best barley was grown by Mr. Joseph Ind in Hind- ley-street, while Mr. James Shakes, of Mount Barker, won the award for oats. Other well known names in this class
are those of Mr. C. B. Fisher, who still lives at Lockleys where the grain was grown. Mr. Walter Duffield, and the
Hon. G. F. Dashwood. Mr. John Ridley, inventor of the celebrated reaper, was placed first for flour; Dr. Kent, of East Park, now Kent Town, and Mr. Ind, of Hindley-street, being also exhibitors. The best butter came from Glen Os- mond, the best cheese from Mount Crawford. the best bacon from Hindley street, and the best hams from Mount Barker; while the Hon. John Morphett was ahead of all rivals in onions and horse beans, the Hon. Jacob Hagen be- ing the winner in the apple class. The best collection of fruits was grown by Mr. George Stephenson at North Ade- laide, the greatest variety of vegetables by Mr. Ind in Hindley-street. and Mr. John Bailey, of Hackney Nursery, took the cottagers' prize. Mr. Ridley, at the same show, received an award of £10 10/ for his then newly-discovered "har- vest machine," on which he was highly complimented by the Governor, Sir George Grey. There were but seven classes, with but a very few items in each, but while there has been a vast expansion in most directions, some of them have now disappeared from the catalogues. Thus there were awards for locally-grown tobacco and cigars, as well as for soap (won hy Mr. W. H. Burford), candles, leather, ale, starch, and castor oil. Production was in its infancy in South Australia then, and the show was of a necessarily primitive character. To-day the land under wheat totals two million acres; orchards, vine- yards, and gardens cover wide areas of country; and the Agricultural Society has courageously kept pace with the de- mands made upon it. There may be special interest perhaps in knowing that Captain Bagot, in January, 1843, pro- phesied that with the aid of the Ridley reaper wheat could be profitably grown in South Australia at 1/6 per bushel, and that he gave statistics to support his calculations; while Mr. Dutton was of opinion that though that estimate was too low, half a crown would do ad- mirably. It has had to do on many oc- casions since then, and at present in Adelaide wheat is only slightly in ad- vance of that quotation. Even as early as 1845, when the price was 4/6, it had been down to the same figure, with fine
flour at £8 a ton.