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Evidence on Birdsville Track. MARREE, November 1. The section of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee, taking evidence at Marion Downs Station on October 26, was informed bv Joseph Coghlan, station master, that the area of the holding was 4,300 square miles, and that it carried 20,000 cattle and 300 horses, but no sheep, although the country would be suitable for sheep, most of thea cattle werec droved to Marree to be trucked then to Adelaide, but some went to the Townsville meat works. Excepting in isolated patches he did not consider the country suitable for closer settlement. The district was sub ject to floods, which did not materially affect cattle, but would make successful sheepbreeding difficult. In witness's opinion the construction of a railway io connect Marion Downs with Marree would mean an increased local population, and he thought cattle would be trucked all the way to Adelaide; but ou account of the long distance it would be an advantage to have a place on the way where tbe cattle could be detrained and rested. At Dedourie, on October 27, evidence was obtained from George Gafiney, who considered the land between Boulis and Birdsville good pastoral country, which could be resumed, and cut up into holding of about 300 square miles. on which any man might make a good living. As the country was subject to floods railway con struction would be difficult. and the pre valent of sanddrifts would necessitate constant attention to any line built. At Glengyle Station, on October 27, Al bert Edwards, station manager, said the area of that holding^ was 1,000 square miles, and the total area under his control (in cluding outstations). 7,000square miles. Tha stock carried was 25,000 cattle and 1,000 horses. During a flood the rivers would cover the country for 10 to 13 miles from their channels, for a depth of 18-in. to 5 ft. He did not consider the country suitable for cutting up for closer settlement. It was only speculative country suitable for big holdings. Celsus Morton, holder of Roseberth Sta tion, said he was running 1,500 cattle on 500 square miles, which should be the mini mum holding on acount of the waste country one had to take up. With a rail way to Marree, he thought he would still take his cattle by road in good seasons to avoid railway freight. A railway through Thargomindah to Bourke would traverse much bestter country. At Birdrsville, on October 28, Harry Afford, store manager (formerly station manager), said that a railway through Birdeville to Marree would open up a lot of unocuppied or sparsely populated land. At| present this could carry three beasts to the square mile; but with a railway and water improvements. it would carry thrice. A railway should present no engineering diffi culties, and the floods would not be a hin drance.
Samuel Smith, pastoralist, said he held 220 square miles, and carried 700 cattle. When improved and fully stocked, the area ahould carry 3,000 to 4,000 head. He favoured a line through Birdsville and Mar ree as likely to open up tie country and at- tract settlement. John Gurn, police constable and Acting Inspector of Stock, gave figures showing the stock sent from Queensland to South Australia. During 1921 and to the end of October this year, these had amounted to 31,000 cattle and 3,000 sheep. At Mungerannie (S.A.) on October 31 William Crobie, grazier, said he had been living there 29 years, and held 355 square miles, on which he carried 800 cattle, 400 horses, and 150 goats. He was relegated to the dry country, as the big holders like Mr. Brooks and Sir Sidney Kidman held all the water frontages. The country was unsuitable for holdings less than 500 square miles. With his area he had to shift stock to get feed nine years out of 10. The country wacs not good enough to warrant the construction of a railway from Birds ville to Marree.