'THE EGG-LAYING COMPETITION.
DISCUSSION BY 'THE STATE CHIL-
A special meeting of the State Children's Council was held on March 3. There were present:--The president (Mr. T.. Rhodes), Lady Bonython, Miss Spence, Miss Clark, Mr. C. H. Goode, and Mr. T. Price, M.P.
Mrs. Brown wrote, regretting her ina bility to be present, and expressing the con- viction that the interests of the reforma- tory should prevent the continuance of the egg-laying competition on the grounds during another year. The minute of the Chief Secretary urging the reconsideration of the question by the council was-read. '
Mr. Price felt that the first duty of the council was to protect the boys. He had the fullest sympathy with the poultry fan- ciers. He believed it was proper to do everything possible t0 encourage such a valuable industry but he thought that if the well-being of the reformatory boys were to be maintained, it would be impossible to do as they were asked. It must not be done at the expense of the children. The
society were saving money over the pre- sent competition by utilising the labor of the boys. It would be better to take it to Roseworthy. There was room, and it was not very far from Adelaide. It was nearer the farmers and their sons. The students at the college were greatly interested in the matter. Such a course would educate the students in a useful direction.
Mr, Goode said if every precaution was taken to conserve the interests of the children he saw no objection to 'granting the request of the society. They were willing to contribute towards the cost, and if the Government did not ob- ject to finding the balance of a salary for an additional officer he thought the matter might be arranged. He would advocate stringent restrictions regarding visitors, as he could see that opportunity for various abuses might easily arise. He moved-"That we agree to the proposal of the Chief Secretary if certain condition^ can be adopted." This was not seconded.
Lady Bonython regretted that the coun- cil could not see its way to comply with the request. She had great sympathy with the society, and would like to help them if possible.
Miss Spence maintained that the in- terests of the children stood first, and' that, as there appeared no doubt they would be jeopardised if the competition was continued at Magill, she must reluc- tantly vote against its continuance. Miss Clark concurred.
Mr. Price moved, and it 'was seconded, and carried-"That, while -the council has the most earnest desire to oblige the Hor- ticultural Society to encourage the poultry breeders, and to meet the wishes of the Government, it very greatly regrets to be compelled, in the interests of the inmates, of the Magill Reformatory, to adhere to its former resolution.
The secretary was directed respectfully to inform the Chief Secretary of the coun- cil's decision, and to add that it has been found that even on Sundays the grounds could not be kept free from visitors, and that notwithstanding every care some have communicated with the boys to the detri- ment of the inmates.
DEPUTATION TO THE PREMIER.
A deputation representing the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and consisting of the Hon.W.B.Rounsevell, Colonel Rowell, and Messrs. A. R. Clarke, W. R. Brown, F. W. Marshall,
J. F. Mellor, Shearing, T. B. Robson, G. Sandow, J. W. Mellor, and J. Creswell, waited upon the Premier on Friday in refe- rence to the suggested holding of another egg-laying competition.
Mr. Rounsevell, who introduced the depu- tation, said that a great many people looked upon poultry as a by-product, but it had been found that by-pro- ducts were often more important than the original industries. That had been the experience in regard to mining. The by- products of Broken Hill were more pay- able than the metal first sought after. The poultry industry in this State was a most important one. During the years of drought, while South Australia was import- ing cereals, butter, and cream, eggs were being exported to the value of £10o,000 per annum. They should not'forget that these were the surplus eggs in addition to those used in local consumption. All classes of the community were taking the deepest in- terest in the egg-laying competition at Magill. Although the contest had shown that some breeds were better layers in the winter, while others were superior in the summer, one year's trial was not a sufficient test to demonstrate which were the best breeds of poultry to keep. They had heard indirectly that the objection raised against af continuance of the trials at the reformatory at Magill was that they interfered with the work at the institution. That was a Government in- stitution, and not a profitable one at that,
and if those in charge could minimise the cost of its maintenance' they should do so. The Government had a right to call upon them for that assistance. As to the competition interfering with work at the institution he had some doubts. The regu- lations could be altered so as not to allow of any interference with the boys. The reformatory was particularly suited for the contest, and he asked the Government, not only on behalf of the Royal Agricultural Society, but on behalf of the community, that anotber competition for a year might be allowed to take place there.
Mr. Clarke, the chairman of the com- mittee for dogs and poultry connected with the society, said the society was wil- ling to forego visiting days to the people if that would get over the difficulty. (Mr.
Rounsevell-"That is an important con- cession.") In regard to the matter of cost the society was also willing to meet them in that respect. Mr. Marshall said the New South Wales Government had voted £500 for the erec- tion of pens and other work in connection with a competition. In New Zealand there were four1 experimental stations for poultry and pigs, but principally for the former. There were also a number of experts m New South Wales who travelled about the coun- try giving advice'to the farmers in regard to poultry. Victoria had been rather slow in the matter, but now proposed to start an egg-laying contest at the Dookie Agricul- tural College on May 1.
The Premier, in reply, said he was en- tirely with the deputation so far as the fos- tering of the industry was concerned. He spoke not as a theorist, but as a practical poultry farmer. He had grown poultry, but for other people, as a rule. He had bred the birds, and others had taken them without troubling him about payment. (Laughter.) The poultry industry was one of great help to the producers. On going through the country one could not help noticing that poultry should be kept to a much greater extent. They were half the living to some settlers; even if they did not sell the produce it formed a large proportion of their food. The Magill Reformatory was placed under the authority of a board of management, and the Ministry could not look upon the reformatory in the same way as they could the Roseworthy Agri- cultural College or any other Go- vernment agricultural institution. The reformatory must be regarded in practically the same sense as a gaol. The boys were kept strictly under the law, and were sent there for a certain time. The board had almost direct charge of the institution, and the deputation would see the position he was in. Supposing he said to the board that they must do a certain thing, and the boys got away, then he, as Minister, would be placed in a posi- tion he would have no right to occupy. When Mr. Clarke first waited upon him in regard to the matter he saw the. secretary of the institution, and put before him the points that had been raised. The board, however, considered the matter, and thought that the competition was not in the best interests of the boys. Many people drove to the institution, and the presence of the visitors diverted the attention of the
boys from their work. A number of people also thought they had a perfect right to go over the institution. On the two occa- sions he went to Magill there were other visitors, who expressed a desire to be shown over the premises. He thought
there was no desire on the board's part to prevent the encouragement of the industry. They had acted, purely in what they con- sidered were the interests of the boys.
Under the circumstances he had suggested that the trial should be carried out at the Roseworthy College, which was not farther from the city than Hawkesbury was from Svdney and Dookie from Melboune. At Roseworthy there was the additional ad- vantage of boys being there who had the full intention of becoming farmers. Still, he would point out to the board of the State Children's Department the points which had been touched upon by the depu- tation, and ask them to reconsider the matter. He would let the secretary of the society know the result as soon as he got a reply from the board if it were unfavor- able, the Government would he willing to assist the society in any arrangement that was made, but he did not feel it was his duty to make an imperative request to the board in connection with the matter.
THE LATEST RETURNS. We are informed that Mr T. E Cromp- ton's pen of White Leghorns have now laid over 1,000 eggs since the beginning of the competition-to be exact the figures are 1,002 The next pen is Mr J. H. von Ber- touch's White leghorns with 955. The
Silver Wyandottes, which have been lag- ging in the rear for some months after
leading for a long time, are now showing signs of making a big bid for the top places before the end of the competition-.
The final stages seem likely to provide plenty of excitement for owners and others interested in the eompetitiorl.