The Property of ATKINS BROS. LIMITED
(From 'The Pastoral Review.')
Murgoo Station is located near the centre of the Murchison division oi' Western Australia, a district of ex tensive area of pastoral lands, and em bracing some of the soundest sheep country to be found in the State. Murgoo can well claim to be a sound Merino wool-growing and stud proposi tion, and its present owners, Messrs At kins Bros., have proved the value of
their holding by the splendid type of wool grown, and by the high-class stud of Merino sheep. Comprising 511,000 acres of pastoral leaseholds, expiring in 1948, Murgoo was one of the first runs taken up in the State, but it was not until the sixties and seventies that stock were first tried out in this remarkable top feed centre, and to Messrs E. and F. Wittenoom fell the task of pioneering. Mr. E. H., now Sir Edward, Wittenoom pitched his camp in the vicinity of the existing woolshed, and it may be sig nificant that the present owners are building a new homestead near the same spot on account of the excellent water thereabouts. The area taken up in 1872 by Edward Wittenoom and the late Thomas Burgess was 60,000 acres, but later it grew to 700,000 acres.
In 1880 Messrs E. and F. Wittenoom established Murgoo homestead on the present site. In 1891 this partnership sold out to Messrs Holmes and Moloney and some years later Mr. H. Maloney bought Mr. Richard Holmes' share and he carried on until his death in 1903. In 1905 a company, comprising Mr. Charles Atkins, sen., and his two sons, E. C. and H. G. Atkins, took over the
station, and it has since been carried on under the name of Atkins Bros. Limited. Since 1919 the general management has been in the capable hands of Mr. R. W. Fremlin, and the present season sees Murgoo in an exceptionally good state of improvement. The Murgoo country comprises wide sweeps of undulating land covered with the most desirable edible scrub, the pre dominant feed being karara, with many varitios of seed bearing bush and mul ga growing in profusion. The average rainfall is 8½in., falling generally in the winter from May onwards. Murgoo is some 800ft. above sea level, and the climate covers a range from severe win ter frosts to high summer temperatures. The management is doing all within its power to augment the splendid
drought-resisting resources of the coun try. First and foremost, the policy is to avoid over-stocking. Small paddocks are not favoured, and the 5x5 en closures into which the run is divided give the merino sheep plenty of space and a sufficient supply of water. Good water is available, and between 60 and 70 windmills stand by shallow wells, averaging about 35 feet in depth. Con
tinual inspection of the troughs is made to keep them unpolluted. Careful fenc ing is another feature of the manage ment. This is of the standard five and six strand type, of which there are 423 miles erected. Lambing takes place in May with the change of season, and an SO to 84 per cent is always counted upon. In 1927 the marking was up to 97 per cent. No summer lambing is favoured owing to the unreliability of the thunderstorms. Shearing takes place in August/Sep tember. From an average count, of 20,000 up to 1920, the number of sheep shorn was increased to 28,000 in 1922, dropping to 23,000 in the drought year 1924 and amounting to over 31,000 in 1925, whilst in 1927 900 bales of wool were clipped from a similar number of sheep and lambs. This clip averaged
£30/5/- per bale and 22|d. per 1b. all round. Some 8000 station-bred wethers were sold in the wool in 1924 at an average price of 40/- per head. That both sheep and country are sound is illustrated by the figures of 1925, in which year 17,000 fully grown sheep and 6000 lambs were shorn. The former cut over lllbs. per head and totalled 41)0 bales, and this included 1,000 wethers only, all 2-tooth. Thirty three bales of lambs' wool were produc ed, and whilst the growth for the sheep was 12A months, the season was below normal. The Murgoo clip is sold in London. Following is a table of weights per head averaged at recent shearings: — 1022, 7 l-51bs., including lambs; 1923, 7 7-lfiIbs., including lambs; 1925, 11 1-Olbs., in cluding lambs; 1926, 11.71b., grown sheep only; 1927, 10.711b., grown sheep only. In November 1927 the management sent a consignment of prime spring lambs to the Midland Junction sales with most satisfactory results. Esti mated to kill and dress from 30 to 301bs. the lot created great interest and aver aged 23/7 per head, topping the mar ket with 24/1. The Merino Stud. Registered in the Australian Stud Merino Flock Register as Flock No. 203, the Murgoo stud numbers about 2,000 special breeding ewes. The Murgoo stud flock numbered 148 breeding ewes when the present owners took over in 1905. The stud was maintained judici ously by them along the same lines, with the regular addition of Boonoke rams as sires until 1910, in which year, and again in 1914, the breeding numbers were augmented by the importation of drafts of selected ewes from the Murgha stud, Eivcrina, together with the Mur gha-bred sire Caesar in the latter year. This stud supplied two other stud rams in 1917, whilst a third was purchased at the same time from Deniliquin Stud Park, Riverina. In 1923 another strain of pure Wanganella or Peppin blood was infused by the purchase of stud ram No. 21.53 from Uardry, Riverina, together with ten special ewes, and still another ram was obtaine^d from the Mt Widderin stud, Victoria. In 1924 the classing and mating wore entrusted to the expert personal supervision of Mr. A. J. McDonald, late of Canowie. The numbers were cut down from three thou sand to one thousand ewes. Everything that did not conform to the type laid
down was discarded and the culling re sulted in a very high-class nucleus for future breeding. The advance has more than justified the drastic reduction made, both as regards the sheep and wool, the latter conforming to an al most perfect type of medium/strong quality of broad 00 's to super 64 's count. For uniformity of size and even
ness of covering, appearance, build, and their great constitution, the Murgoo stud and flock sheep leave little to b« desired. A Bundemar ram was obtained in 1926, and in 1927 the owners invested several thousand pounds in the pur chase from Uardry of 100 double stud ewe hoggets, 1100 first single stud ewes, 29 stud rams, 2 selected stud rams and one special stud ram. Early in 1928 a stud ram was pur chased from Haddon Rig, and is doing yeoman service with his mates to de velop quantity and quality along the best lines. A ready sale is made of all available rams each year at from 5 guineas upwards, the output up to date being 2/300 head. Most of the sales are by contract, and the whole of the surplus for 1928 and 1929 was booked up well before the end of 1927. Atkins Bros. Limited also hold Mt. Narryer Station, a highly improved run of 480,000 acres just north of Murgoo. Some 20,000 sheep arc shorn there an nually, the whole of the flock rams being drawn from the stud at Murgoo. The small but purebred herd of Short horns has now been brought down to
Murgoo, where the cattle do very well. The bull at present in service was bought from Mr. M. W. Roberts' herd of Duke of Derriinut strain. At Mt. Narryer there are a number of stone tanks, built when iron threat ened to soar into high prices. A mag nificent homestead replete with every improvement and a large woolshed have ,
been built. The results of the 1928 shearing are as follows: — Mt. Narryer. — Sheep shorn, 26,000; lambs marked 6,000; bales wool 550. Murgoo. — Sheep shorn, 32,000; lambs marked, 11,000; bales wool, 675. During 1928 21,000 sheep were sold off Murgoo and Mt. Narryer. In October this year, Messrs Atkins Bros. Ltd., bought Tibradden Station, which comprises 11,190 acres adjoining Kojarena Siding, 20 miles from Gerald ton. This property will be used as a stud farm in connection with Murgoo and Mt. Narryer. The annual picnic race meeting of the Murgoo Amateur Race Club is held at Murgoo woolshed in the month of May. It is the social event of the Lower Murchison district and those in terested in pastoral pursuits, and their friends, foregather from a radius of 500 miles for two days' racing and two nights' dancing. The ladies are quar tered in the shearers' huts and the men in the woolshed, which are generously made available by Messrs Atkins Bros. Ltd.
DEMONSTRATION AT THE OPENING OF THE RAILWAY TO CUE APRIL 20, 1897.
SCENES ON THE MUECHISON
PLOUGHING WITH CA3MELS.