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EYRE HIGHWAY

Overlanders' Complaints DENIED BY PASTORALIST

Commenting on reports by over landers that stations on the Eyre Highway were abandoned, Mr. R. Mackie, of Madura station, who is at present paying a business visit to Kalgoorlie, said there was no truth in these 'fantastic stories.' To his personal knowledge, there was not one station a.ha.nrirmpf1 hp^.

tween Norseman and the South Australian border. The pastoral ists had big holdings and fre quently had to be away from their homesteads for long periods attending to mills and stock on distant parts of their runs, but it should be evident to anyone passing through, from the pro perty, plant, etc.. at the home steads, that these were not aban doned. Mr. Mackie also ' denied that there was any great lack of water along the route. He' said that on Madura Pass there was a 10,000 gallon underground tank, and nearby an open hut, complete with stove, left by the Main Road Board, and which could be used by overlanders. Twenty-eight miles west of Madura, at Mconera. there was a 44,000 gallon under ground tank, with at least 10,000 gallons of water in it. Another 28 miles west, at Cocklebiddy, there was a similar tank with 3 ft. of water in it. Seven miles west of Cocklebiddy, just of the road, there was an enormous under ground fresh water lake. About 25 miles further west, but off the main road, there was another 44,000 gallon underground tank. Going east from Madura, about 40 miles along, there was a mill and tank ^alongside the road.

lMght mile further on there was Mundrabilla station. Twenty eight miles east of Mundrabilla was another 44,000 gallon tank, full of water, a-1 though this was just off the main road, From there it was only about 38 miles to Eucla, where there was abundant water. Apart from these, along the Hampton Tableland es carpment, which runs from Eucla to Madura, there were innumer able waterholes, close to the road, although it would require men with a bit of commonsense and a knowledge of the bush to find them. However, kangaroo and stock tracks lead to these. There were also, from Eucla to Balladonia, water trees, from the roots of which, good fresh water would be obtained. Commenting on the reports of dead horses lying around his homestead, Mi-. Mackie said that none of the station's horses were in the vicinity. The station men always securely fastened the gates when leaving the station for other parts of the run and any dead horses that may be there would be brumbies which had got in through gates unfastened and left open by overlanders.

Mackie said that these were the bane of the pastoralists. On one occasion he and his men were away mustering and on returning to the homestead in the evening, found two parties of overlanders had broken in, helped themselves to his stores, cooked tea from these with his utensils and were having a meal in his dining room This was but one of many such incidents. Along the road they had been known to use underground tanks for bathing, had used tanks and signposts as targets for shot- 1 guns and rifles and had ripped i iron from the tops of underground tanks to make windbreaks. Through the holes left in the tops of the tanks, rabbits, crows kangaroos, emus, etc., got in' drowned and rotted there. 'In my opinion,' said Mr Mackie, 'if they could carry the homestead away with them 'some of them would do it.'

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