Potted Histories

The Changing Face of Harvey District (1930-B)

A Look back – Governor Stirling’s Land – The Citrus Colony.

This article appeared in Western Mail, Thursday 13 February 1930, p. 43, 54

Mr. F. Byrd

On less than 60 acres of irrigated pasture Mr F. Byrd is carrying 23 milking cows, 40 young cattle and 6 horses. Eighteen years ago, despite his limited financial resources, he paid £10 an acre of 10 acres of virgin land; to-day thanks to unremitting labour, he owns 98 acres of irrigated land and 300 acres of “dry” land.

He has an orchard of 25 acres and 13 acres planted with potatoes. The principal pastures are subterranean clover, paspalum, couch and white Dutch clover. On 10 acres of irrigated land last year Mr. Byrd ran 22 cows for six weeks, and on their being removed there was a dense growth of feed. The area was divided into four paddocks and was top-dressed with fertiliser at the rate of about 120lb. to the acre. It was formerly a citrus orchard. Mr. Byrd has grown several potato crops that have averaged eight tons an acre, and one crop went 10 tons. From two acres of potatoes last year he had a gross return of £218. On the land outside the irrigated area Mr. Byrd runs sheep. He has been out from England 22 years.

Mr. A. Upton

The results of intense cultivation are strikingly apparent on the 20-acre irrigated property of Mr. A. Upton. Half the area, which is under subterranean clover, carries 18 stock all the year round, while seven acres of the remainder are devoted to market gardening with conspicuous success. From two to three tons of blood and bone fertiliser are applied annually to this portion, with the exception of the land devoted to potatoes, which receives special manure. Mr. Upton estimates his annual gross income from the property at over £1,500-some of his land grows five crops yearly. Vegetables are despatched to many parts of the State, including the North-West, the wheat belt taking large quantities, while timber-mill employees are valuable customer. One must not fail to mention the excellent strawberries Mr. Upton grows. Discussing his methods, Mr. Upton remarked dryly that intense cultivation was the only way to exterminate pests. He purchased the land, which was cleared in 1925 at £40 per acre. Prior to his coming to the State eight years ago he was engaged in market gardening in Cheshire (Eng.).

Mr. A. S. Evans

A short distance from the Wokalup station the Bundidup Pastoral Co. owns 2,700 acres, including 1,200 acres of attractive flats. The company also has 1,000 acres of coastal country which is used for grazing cattle. The manager for the concern is Mr. A. S. Evans, formerly of New Zealand, and under his supervision the property is being improved and a stud of Corriedale sheep established. A large dam is being constructed so that the flats can be irrigated and the production of crossbred lambs increased. Last year 10 Corriedale rams were imported from the Bushey Park Estate, New Zealand, and it is intended to fetch stud book ewes from the Eastern States. Ten Lincoln rams have also been obtained from Docker Bros., Victoria, and last year Mr. J. J. Cornwall’s Merino ewes were purchased at his dispersal sale in the Wagin district. At present 3,500 sheep are shorn but it is hoped to increase the number to 5,000. The Wokalup River waters the property, and the principal pastures are subterranean clover, paspalum and native grasses, while some English rye grass has been planted. Last year 250 acres of clover were sown. The company also intends to establish a Red Poll cattle herd in the near future. The homestead is over 80 years old and portion was built by convict labour.

Mr. A. S. Warburton

A soldier settler on the Brunswick Estate, Mr. A. S. Warburton has 179 acres of light land, with a clay sub-soil, which he settled on 10 years ago. His principal activity is dairying, and he is milking 32 grade cows, while the farm was also carrying 25 other cattle and six horses.

Mr. Warburton uses a pure bred Shorthorn bull and intends raising the standard of his herd. Later, he hopes to milk 40 cows. The stock are dispastured on 100 acres of subterranean clover, while 50 acres of clover are harvested for seed. The remainder of his acreage is not cleared. For the past seven months 32 cows, some of which are heifers, have been producing. 72 gallons of milk daily. Milk is despatched to the metropolis, but some is separated for skim milk and last season 40 pigs were fattened. Mr. Warburton sold 16,046lb. of clover seed last year, his gross return being £1,374. Labour cost £627 and 100 bags of superphosphate were applied to tile 50 acres. The Group Settlement Board took most of the seed. The eight-acre potato crop dug in October averaged over seven tons per acre. It was grown in partnership with another settler and netted an average of £16 per ton, some of the potatoes being sold in Adelaide and Sydney. Mr. Warburton is a director of the West Australian Clover Growers’ Co., and president of the Brunswick Football Club, which won the premiership of the Harvey Association last year. He is also secretary of the recreation ground committee, and a past president of the Brunswick Farmers’ Association.