A GREAT FLOCKMASTER. DEATH OF MR. ALLAN McFARLANE.
Valuable Life's Work. South Australia has lost another of its most sturdy and enterprising pioneers in the person of Mr. Allan McFarlane, of Wellington Lodge, who passed away on
Wednesday, aged 79 years. Born in Caith- ness, Mr. McFarlane was every inch a Scotsman, notwithstanding that he left the land of the heather and the broom when a lad. His father, mother, brothers, and he arrived in South Australia in the ship Superb on November 9, 1839, and the family first settled in the Mount Barker district, where they took up land. With his older brothers— one of whom was Sir Donald Horne McFarlane, who sat for Argyllshire in the House of Commons - Mr. Allan McFarlane crossed the Murray in 1842, and remained in possession of the same country for 66 years, experiencing the sunshine and shadow of prosperity and ad- versity. The McFarlane boys carried all the burdens associated with the pioneer days. The sheep strayed and were lost or were killed by the blacks; provisions would run short, and there were no telephones or telegraphs or railways at hand. It took several days to reach the confines of a scattered civilization by bullock dray ex- press. The fighting blood of the north countries had additional iron put into it by these early struggles. The Head Station The writer of an interesting article which appeared in The Register some time ago remarked: Beautiful for situation, nest- ling as it does among, the great willows on the banks of Lake Alexandrina, Wel- lington Lodge--the estate of 43,000 acres accommodates over 40,000 sbeep-is one of the most charming station homesteads in South Australia. Improvements have been carried to perfection, and everywhere there is evidence of the presence of a master mind. Had he not been a great flock- master Mr. Allan McFarlane would have been an eminent engineer, for he possesses to an unusual degree the brain to con- ceive and the power to accomplish. There is the commodious woolshed, designed and built by Mr. McFarlane in 1878, and full of home-made devices for facilitating work and minimising labour. A woolpress, in- vented by the proprietor of Wellington Lodge, made wtith lever and hand power and geared for steam power, has proved a great success. The shed is 154 x 136 - the space for holding sheep being 36 ft wide -the engine room and other additions and improvements having been made later. The building will hold close on 2,000 ewes and rams. The shed is ad- mirably fitted up with portcullises and gates working on pivots, while the sky- lihghts can be opened and shut by means of an ingenious contrivanee invented by Mr. McFarlane. The pens which receive the sheep after they have been shorn are covered in with galvanized iron, and thus the animals are protected from the wea- ther. This is an improvement which night well be copied at many sheds. On leaving these pens the sheep run through a race, where they are branded F over a bar, and then the jumbucks find their way out into the paddock. A Valuable Contrivance The principal attraction is the compress- ed air system system of shearing introduced a few years ago and greatly improved by Mr. McFarlane, who, says :— 'Mr. Ford (the inventor) deserves the whole credit for the machine.' In a letter to the owner of Wellington Lodge, however, the inventor writes:—''Now, with reference to the success of the machine, I consider all credit is due to yourself, for without your
assistance, and most wonderful confidence in the air sheep shearing machine it would never have been brought out: so that all credit is due to you, as it was entirely your influence with Mr. Nicholson that induced him to take it up; and what pleases me most of all is that you are satis- fied.' Mr. McFarlane met Mr. Nicholson quite casually while travelling from Tail- em Bend to Sydney, and the latter gentle- man became so interested in the invention that he joined Mr. Ford and took, the machine up with enthusiasm. The first machines were a failure, but Mr. McFar- lane was able to use the compressor and receiver in conjonction with the present machine. —Flocks aind Herds.— Mr. McFarlane is a firm believer in de- horning cattie, and attached to the stock- yards is a dehorning pen and cutter, capable of putting through 50 head of cattle an hour. Something like £10,000 was recent- ly spent in constructing embankments for the purpose of keeping back the river and reclaiming 700 acres of flooded country. Six sheep to the acre can now be carried; and during the hot months the experiment has been a pronounced success. One of the most interesting structures near the head- station is a high water tower, carrying a tank with a capacity of 30,000 gallons. There is a smaller one close by. The water is pumped from the lake into these elevated tanks by an engine worked by gas genera- ted from mutton fat. It is then conveyed to stock in distant paddocks out on the plains by means of cast-iron pipes and 3-in. screw gas pipes.The proprietor of Wel- lington Lodge utilizes all available motive power, and a rather unique arrangement is the connection of a wmdmill to a circular saw for woodcutting purposes. As the wind blows pretty strongly acrow the lake at times there is no difficulty in turning the windmill to good account practically when ever required. The cattle, horses, and sheep to be seen on this estate are all of the high- est class. Only merino sheep are to be seen, and these are of an excellent type, and are carrying fine fleeces of woo. Mr. McFarlane has carefully bred up his stock to their present standard since 1839. He has not adopted the in-and-in breeding sys-
tem, but at various times has purchased the best strains of outside blood that money could buy. Strains of the Murray breed of sheep have been used in the flock, as well as rams from Bungaree and Canowie. while some years ago valuable animals were imported from Tasmania. Wellington Lodge merinos are well known for their ro- bust constitutions and the high-dass quality of their fleeces. —Stock Inspector and Explorer- In the early days, when much of the stock of South Australia was infected by scab, Mr. McFarlane was appointed Inspector of Stock for the south-eastern district, and was largely instrumental by his energy in era- dicating the disease which had cost the country many thousands of its sheep. Though this disease has been absolutely stamped out of Australia, it still causes con- siderable trouble in England and in other parts of the world. Mr. McFarfane, with the late Mr. Thomas Seymour, of Killanoo- la, explored much of the great northern country in the neighbourhood of Lake Eyre, and took up country there. Lake McFar- kne still perpetuates his memory in that district. The deceased gentleman named the Oakden Hills after Mr. Philip Oakden, nowof Lerida, New South Wales, who had been through that district before him.
Yachtsman and Rifle Shot Mr. McFarlane was an enthusiastic sup- porter of the Milang Yacht Club, and manifested a deep interest in aquatic af- fairs. He was also in his younger days well known as a runner, and was also a crack shot with the rifle throughout life. While in England in 1861-2 he won several prizes for rifle shooting at the Wimbledon ranges. For many years he was a popular figure and a champion shot at the local smallbore ranges. —The Family.— Mr. McFarlane revisited Scotland in 1861, and while there married on June 25 of the ensuing year. He has left a widow, four sons:— Messrs. Allan, jun. (of Welling- ton Lodge), John (N.S.W.), Donald (NSW). and Gordon (Wellington Lodge); seven daugbters-- Mrs. Jervois (Wellington Station), wife of a nephew of the the Sir William Jervois, a former Governor of the State; Mrs. A. E. Bowman of Bethanga Park, Victoria, Mrs. M. S. Hawker (Ald- gate), Mrs. A. G. Lamb (Sydney), Mrs. A. B. Henderson (Tourable, N.S.W.). Mrs. E. Gordon (Young. NSW.), and Miss Agnes McFarlane (now on her way from England). There are also 20 grandchildren.