THE WEROCATA STOCK.
A DISPERSION SALE.
(By. our Special Commissioner.) ,
Never since the days of the late Mr. E. M. Pitts and-the clearing sale of "The Levels," near Dry Creek, has this State witnessed any dispersion sale of stud stock of such importance or magnitude as that which will to-day occupy the attention of all stock-raisers at Werocata, Balaklava. It falls to the lot of few men to be able to follow up the aspirations-of youth, much less of boyhood. But with regard to the late proprietor of Werocata, Mr. Stephen S. Ralli, who is to-day disposing of stock which represent the accumulation of '20 years' experience, an exception can be I made. The writer can call to mond the
time when Ralli minor, as a small boy at Eton, devoted many of his leisure hours away from the, playing fields or fives court of that world-famed public school to the process of acquiring practical knowledge of smithy work and of the carpenters bench. The purpose he then had in view was to qualify for the vocation for which he deemed himself most fitted, namely, that of a sheep farmer in Australia. Coming out in the early eighties with the members of the Stirling family, the youthful colonist lost no tune in acquiring further practical experience on Mr. H. "B. Hughes' Nocka lunga station. Here a residence of two years completed the orthodox curriculum of "colonial experience," taught the prospec- tive settler the advantages of "inside" country as being more in accordance witfi his ideals, and resulted in the Wero- cata property passing from the hands of the Bowman family into those of Mr. Ralli. Here he has been settled for the past 20 years, and in that time has built up for himself not only a considerable reputation as a stock-breeder, but has ever kept him- self in the foreground as a genuine sports- man and lover of animals. ,
Few men have either the means or the
disposition to give full fling to their hob- bies, and when they have the trend of those hobbies is seldom in the direction of crea- tions jwhich redound to the credit of the originator or to the ultimate benefit of the community. But in this instance we have an exception, and the good work in the matter of stock management and improve- ments which has beeh so lavishly under- taken for many years past at Werocata will be reflected in various directions through- out this State for many a year to come. Although there are numbers of people who may welcome the subdivision of Werocata with enthusiasm as. an instance of the, wants of the few giving way to the cravings of the many; in connection with the disease known, as earth hunger, there are far more who viewjwith regret "the loss to the local
community which wül result from the de- parture from the/district of this enterpris- ing settler. What is tjaeir loss may, how
ever-Jbe others' gain, iii that, the dispersion of the many grand, types of sheep, cattle, and pigs "which are' to be sold to-day can- not be without beneficial influence wher- ever and into whatever part of Australia .they may go. The horses nave already been sold in Adelaide, and have brought record
There is no need to dwell upon the merit« of the property; that has already changea hands at a considerable advance upon the price at which Mr. Ralli sold. The sale of the land is responsible for the offering of all the live and dead stock on the place, and from the facts of a complete clearance being now made one can give/np all idea of retaining this colonist among the ranks of South Australia's stockbreedera. More's
the pity, and to emphasise the degree of pity one has but to glance through the stock and take note of the way in which the creature cornforts of all animals have been catered for on this homestead. Some men can breed a good animal- and fail to; take proper care of it. Here "the animaí bred is good, and has 'ever been particularly well cared for. . *. ,
Schoolboys are familiar 'with the im- portance of their cricket, football, or .row- ing colors. That spirit has not been lost sight of on Werocata, but is in bold reliei on all sides, from the binding ribbon of the artistic sale programme to the coloring xif every dray, waggon, and every implement on the place. The very pigs in some of the sheds seem to betray this sporting in-
stinct in patches. ' Some of us can recall \ the Werocata pack of hounds and the in- vincible-nature of the football tpam, and remember the all-important local signifi- cance of the yellow and black. Mr. Ralli attributes, his selection «of these colors 'to pleasant reminiscences of the first coach which he ever drove orr-the English high- roads, where coachdriving is a summer re- creation, of men of leisure and sporting in- stincts. Mention of. coaching calls to mind the part to be played by Hill and Co.'s drags between Balaklava and Wero- cata, a degree of consideration for prospec- tive buyers being shown which is indicative of careful thought for every detail in con- nection with this sale.' * /
The whole of the Werocata Shropshire flock is to be,disposed of, and the occasion of the breaking up is'one of which aE our own breeders of the same class of sheep should.avaü themselves. Mr. Baili was one of the earliest importers of this steam into South Austrab'a, and since 1893 he has been assiduously improving upon the original basis of the flock. Messrs. Matthew Wil- liams, E. Nock, H. Williams, M. Williams, J. Beach., A. E. Mansel, Evans, .and J. L. Naper have been from time to time called upon for fresh blood, and the result
has been the formation of the stud flock-] which will to-day be brought to the ham- ' mer. As prizewinners knd as the progeni- tors of prizewinners at Adelaide and in Mel- bourne these Shropsbires are" too well known to require more than passing com- ment. The sale begins at 11.30 a.m. to- day, and will last two days. Mr. Edward Crispe, of Messrs. Elder, Smith, & Co.. will wield, the hammer, and as every detail in connection with this gathering has been thought out to a commendable degree of nicety one can safely anticipate a record result. -?