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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 22

our forests

our forests.

Next to the cultivation of the soil, the extensive forests of Southland may be classed as one of the best resources of the district. Within a radius of thirty miles of Invercargill can be counted fully thirty sawmills, employing, on an average, thirty men. As many of the hands are married, and, assuming, as the statistics of the colony permit, that each of these married men has, with his wife and family, an average on the whole of four souls depending on him, we can conclude that the forests by the sawmills alone are maintaining a population bordering on, if not exceeding, four thousand persons. But the advantage which the possession of forests gives to a district where settlement is proceeding, cannot be assessed alone by the men employed at the sawmills, for the settler is able to purchase the timber for his house at a moderate price, and fencing is reduced to a rate which would make the heart of a settler on the Canterbury plains, or in the treeless districts of Central Otago, leap with joy. The sawmills, too, furnish freight for our railways, and for numerous coasting vessels, whilst no I inconsiderable quantity of sawn timber is sent by the intercolonial steamers to Australia