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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 44

The New Zealand Agricultural Company (Limited.)

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The New Zealand Agricultural Company (Limited.)

To intending emigrants and men of small means, the New Zealand Agricultural Company offers great advantages. The Company has an Estate of over 160,000 acres of freehold in the South of New Zealand, between latitude 45deg. 20min. and 46deg. S. between the parallels of Oamaru and Dunedin, which it now offers for sale, and is prepared to give unusual facilities to farmers, both in terms of payment and rate of interest, and also provides improved machines for husbandry, such as reaping and binding machines at a small charge per acre.

The Company has, at present, 10,000 acres of agricultural land ploughed and in various stages of cultivation, some actually under grain crop, some being prepared for the same by sowing with turnips, for feeding off with sheep; and this land is now open for selection in convenient-sized farms, from 50 to 1,000 acres, according to the purchaser's means.

The Company, if required, will supply stock of a superior character from their pure herds of Shorthorn cattle and flocks of pure Lincoln and Merino sheep, will lease grazing land on moderate terms to work in connection with agricultural land.

The object of the Company is to secure a good class of Settlers, and from its command of capital and the low price at which the Estate stands in its books, it can sell at a price which will pay handsomely, and also give purchasers land at prices and terms which are not within the power of an individual. Having this in view, the Company offer liberal terms to men of frugal habits, who have saved sufficient money to start them in a small way, or to those who have not sufficient scope for their energies nor sufficient capital to extend their holdings. To such men and to those artizans connected with farming industries there is a sure prospect of success, if they carry with them the same habits which gained them prosperity.

The property of the Company commences south of Gore, and extends thence in a northerly direction to Lumsden, or the Elbow, as it was formerly known, and at a moderate calculation contains 120,000 acres of agricultural land, level and unbroken by ridges, and would be considered a very respectable sized plain out of New Zealand. At various portions of the estate extensive farming operations have been conducted in times past, and the Company have now ploughs and teams of horses working by contract, engaged in preparing land for future settlement. The crops, of all kinds, which have been grown on the estate will bear comparison both for quality and quantity with those grown in any other part of New Zealand. This system page 4 of preparing land for occupation is an advantage to the settler, as he at once gets a crop off the land he buys, instead of having to wait two years, and expend large sums of money, to bring his land into the same state of cultivation; and will be a further gain to them as they will always be able to employ their teams in preparing land for the next wave of settlers who will follow them; and buy their produce till they have grown some of their own and are thus enabled to earn sufficient to pay their next instalment of purchase money. The Company's estate possesses every advantage in the way of fuel, water, &c., and there are two saw-mills on the estate to provide timber for building, fencing, &c., besides quarries of building stone. Then, as to means of transit, the Waimea Plains Railway, when completed, will run through the whole length of the estate, connecting with the Dunedin-Invercargill line at Gore, which traverses four miles of the property, and the Invercargill-Kingston line at Elbow which traverses 33 miles' of the northern end. There are several home-stations on the estate, with gardens, grounds, &c. In order to facilitate settlement, townships have been surveyed at Eiversdale—17½ miles from Gore—the junction of the Switzers line of railway, and as the site is well chosen, it will be the centre of a large agricultural district, and have the advantage of the traffic of Switzers. Mandeville—10½ miles from Gore—will be the station used by settlers on the eastern bank of the Mataura (the Chatton and Otama districts), while at Lumsden the township abuts on the railway station; and Lumsden is the junction of the Government railway extension to Mararoa. Farms have been surveyed at Gore, and comprise some of the richest portions of the estate, and in convenient-sized sections, in the neighbourhoods of Riversdale, Mandeville, and Lumsden. In addition, prepared lands are offered for sale privately on easy terms. In disposing of this property, the Company have decided to sell land in the immediate neighbourhood of the railway first. Practical farmers reckon land distant four miles from a railway as a rent dearer than that close to, and as all the land at present for sale is actually bounded by the line of railway, this alone gives it additional value. The greatest drawback to the estate is that its capabilities and advantages are comparatively unknown. This district a few years ago supplied Dunedin with all its fat stock in the winter months from native pasture, before the days of turnips. The small farms attached to the accommodation houses (or hotels), at the Pyramid and Otamete, on the estate, were cropped for ten years in succession without manure, and managed to give a last crop which would shame many first yields in other localities. Very large crops of turnips are grown on the first furrow, and the general advantages of the estate only require to be known to be appreciated—indeed when the Waimea Plains Railway is open, many a tourist will make the acquaintance of the estate on his way to Lake Wakatip.

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The following illustrates the fertility of the property:—

One block of land, consisting of 1,500 acres, was ploughed for the first time between the months of August and November, sown in turnips, fed off with sheep during the winter months, and in the September succeeding was all under a crop of wheat, which yielded forty bushels to the acre. Another portion having undergone the preliminary preparation of growing a crop of turnips, was sold by auction at Gore, on the 12th of September, and realised the high average of £15 10s. an acre, and two days afterwards the new owners were engaged in ploughing for their crop.

Then as to the level nature of the country. The Waimea Plains Railway which runs for its entire length (36 ½ miles) through the property of the Company, has no gradient steeper than one in one hundred, and that grade only in two places, at the 8th mile from Gore, for 52 chains, and for 106 chains at the 22nd mile; and the estimated completed cost, is .£108,000, including purchase of land, the permanent way being 521bs. rails, and the most substantial fastenings—the time allowed to complete the contract 12 months from the date of signature; the cheapest and most substantial railway yet constructed in New Zealand.

Opinions differ as to which portion of the estate is the richest. The following summary of prices realised for township sections at the first sale of the Company's property, on the 12th and 15th of September, show the estimation in which various localities were held by purchasers:—
63 quarter acre sections in the township of Riversdale averaged £50 7 0
31 quarter acre sections in Mandeville £35 17 0
71 quarter acre sections in Lumsden £44 15 0
14 quarter acre sections in Oreti £32 15 0

The following summary of report was prepared by Mr. Horace Bastings, M.H.R., Commissioner of Waste Lands Board of Otago, and Commissioner for the Classification of Lands in Otago, and Mr. Walter H. Pearson, Chief Com-missioner for the Southland District in November, 1878 :—

In compliance with your request, we have inspected the following estates in Southland, New Zealand, known as Croydon, Wantwood, Waimea Plains, Okaiterua, Longridge, The Dome, and Eyre Creek stations, comprising 157,000 acres or thereabouts of freehold land, and 89,657 acres of leasehold, and report as follows:—
"1.Situation.—These properties are situated nearly due west of Dunedin, and lie between Lat. 45-20 and 46 S. between the parallels of Oamaru and Dunedin; the Gore Railway Station on the southern portion of the property is 82 miles from Dunedin and 40 miles from Invercargill. The Oreti Railway Station of the Invercargill and Kingston line on the western side of the properties is 37 miles from Invercargill.
"2.Railway Communication.—The Dunedin and Invercargill Railway traverses the southern portion of the properties, page 6 and the Invercargill and Kingston the western for a distance of 33 miles, the Waimea Plains Railway intersects the whole from Gore to Lumsden; thus the whole properties are within four miles of railway communication. Telegraph communication is established at all the stations on the New Zealand railways.
"3.Information of the Country.—The estates consist of large plains of alluvial deposit, interspersed with rolling downs of volcanic formation, the whole covered with a fine sward of native pasture, and is without exception the finest block of agricultural land that we have ever examined either in New Zealand or Australia.
"4.Natural Advantages.—The soil consists chiefly of alluvial deposits of loam, with a subsoil of clay intermixed with marl, underlain at a depth of several feet with beds of mixed clay and gravel, which give a fine natural drainage.

"The properties are intersected by numerous never-failing streams, and have a frontage to the Mataura River of 38 miles, and to the Oreti River of 16 miles.

"The Waimea and Otamete Rivers also flow through the properties, the former for 30 miles, the latter for 16 miles. On the properties large deposits of brown coal exist suitable for domestic and steam purposes, and there is also a very valuable quarry of freestone, which, in the opinion of the engineer-in-chief of the Middle Island, is the best in the south of New Zealand for building purposes. These are merely mentioned, but not estimated in our value of the properties.

"5.Products.—The nature of the soil and climate admirably suits it for the growth of cereals, root crops, and artificial grasses. The average yield for last season was 40 bushels of wheat, 60 of oats, and 10 tons of potatoes to the acre—the wheat being of a quality (according to the local miller) unsurpassed in the country.

"The orchards at the several homesteads yield crops of all English fruits in the greatest profusion, and there are large plantations of English forest trees, Scotch firs, and all classes of pines, which have grown with rapidity. The plan of husbandry hitherto followed on the estates, has been to plough the land (which needs no clearing), sowing broadcast with turnips, giving crops feeding from 10 to 15 sheep to the acre, and sowing the cereal crops in the succeeding year, which yield as above stated.

"6.Timber.—These properties enjoy the exceptional advantage of having two large forests of first-class timber, the one, situated on the Croydon Estate, near Gore, and the other, at the opposite extremity at Okaiterua, near the railway station, and have suitable saw-mills with all appliances now erected on them, Okaiterua saw-mill being connected by a tramway with the main line of railway. The timber in these forests will be required on the estates for building, fencing, and other purposes.page 7
"7.Sites for Townships.—Settlement will necessitate the formation of townships on the various lines of railway, and provision has been made for them at suitable sites (vide map); and a large increase in price will be realised both for the town and suburban sections.
"8.Classification.—We have classified the freehold lands as under:—
120,000 acres agricultural land
37,000 acres first-class pastoral land
Total 157,000 acres.
"9.Valuation.—We value the estates all over at Ten pounds per acre, 157,000 acres at .£10 = £1,570,000."

In this classification we have kept well within the mark in the apportionment of the agricultural land. As settlement progresses a large area of what we have now classified as pastoral land will be brought under the plough.

Recapitulatory.—Having considered the great mutual advantages possessed by these Estates, in situation, railway, and telegraphic communication, conformation of country, fertility of soil, suitableness of climate, and various resources, and, having considered also, the large amount which may be expected to be derived from the sale of townships, we regard our valuation as a very moderate one. Unimproved land of inferior quality with longer railway carriage to the seaport, and neither possessing the advantages of timber or coal in its neighbourhood, have been sold in various parts of the Middle Island from £15 to £20 an acre; the result of its being in the neighbourhood of an agricultural population.

The Honorable W. H. Reynolds, M.L.C., and A. Chetham Strode, Esquire, reported as follows on May 6th, 1879 :—" The result of our inspection may be summed up as follows: We found the freehold land belonging to the Company, for the most part of unexceptionally good quality, a fine friable soil, with a subsoil of a sandy loam; such a soil, in fact, that with moderately good tillage could be made to produce crops of first quality. Moreover, the growing crops on the land was convincing proof of the excellent soil. Two large fields of turnips, one on the property formerly held by Mr. Bell, and the other at Longridge, were most satisfying on that point. As a field for settlement, we are satisfied, from the great natural advantages which the property possesses, such as being well watered, the proximity of lignite pits of good quality, and excellent building stone, that it cannot be surpassed. The railway now in course of construction, through the heart of the property, will be the means of lessening very materially, the cost of transit; and, afford great facilities for getting produce to a shipping port, connecting as the railway does at Gore with the line to Dunedin and Invercargill.

"In conclusion, we are of opinion, that with moderately good management exhibited on such a fine property, the Company page 8 should be a most successful undertaking, while it should be the means of conferring incalculable benefits on this part of New Zealand, by introducing and settling on the land, a large number of successful settlers."

The Honorable Robert Campbell, M.L.C., reported on May 22nd, 1879 :—" I do not know that I can say more on the subject of the properties, I consider you have a property, which, for quality of soil and position, is not to be equalled in New Zealand. I do not think you could embrace in any portion of New Zealand so much good land with so little bad land."

Route.—Intending settlers proceed to New Zealand by the Union Steamship Company's steamers, sailing from Melbourne every week, and Hobart Town every fortnight, and can either land at the Bluff and proceed by rail direct to Gore, where the Company's factor, Mr. Robt. Hamilton, resides, who will show them over the estate; or, they can proceed to Dunedin, to which place the fare is nearly the same, and at the Company's office, Water-street, obtain every information, and reach Gore, as quickly as from the Bluff.

decorative feature



New Zealand Average Produce Crops, 1877-78.
1877 1878
Acreage. Bushels. Acreage. Bushels
Wheat 141,614 28 ½ 243,406 26 ½
Oats 150,718 31 190,344 31
Barley 27,679 28 ¾ 22,713 25 ½
Tons. Tons.
Hay 49,760 1 ¼ 45,090 1 ¼
Potatoes 16,204 5 ¼ 17,564 50 ½

The following article appeared in the Otago Daily Times, Friday, September 5, 1879 :—

If New Zealand has one advantage which places it ahead of all the Australasian Colonies as a field of settlement, it is its climate, which, in conjunction with its enormous areas of rich agricultural land, preeminently fits it for the growth of cereals. No doubt each Colony of the group can boast of areas as extensive as our own, and for the sake of comparison we may admit they are equally rich in soil. But their climate, compared to ours, is a fatal defect, and consequently we find that we are outstripping them in the production of grain. The farmer in Victoria can never calculate the quantity of grain he will produce till it is actually in his corn sacks. If his crop escapes the wire-worm in its earlier stages, or the caterpillar when coming into ear, and he has the promise of an abundant yield for his toil, a burning sirocco may in a few hours thresh page 9 out nearly all his grain, and he is left with nothing but a hope that next year he may escape with better fortune. In Adelaide the yield to the acre of a few bushels of superior grain does not promise that South Australia will be the granary of the world. New South Wales and Queensland produce little but maize, and the area of Tasmania confines its production to home requirements; and so it is, that New Zealand alone of the group, gives promise of yielding a large and ever-increasing surplus for exportation. Narrowing the grain-producing portion of New Zealand to its proper limits, we may define the land from Amberley to the Bluff as the only truly agricultural country in Australasia. A large portion of this land is already alienated from the Crown, and if we are to look to a considerable increase in settlement, it must be by the dispersion of lands which have been already sold, and to which the means of transport arc already afforded. The rapid progress made by Oamaru and Timaru before the construction of railways, was due to their ports, which, bad as they were, enabled their farmers to export grain. As the railway was extended from Christchurch, the whole of the lands in the vicinity were sold and settled. In the South, railways were not pushed on with the same rapidity, although more required, and consequently population has not increased in the same ratio that it has in the North, and this from no inferiority of soil or climate, but because eight months ago, the country beyond the Clutha was cut off from Dunedin. Few now who travel to Invercargill have any idea of the extent and capabilities of the country they pass by. "Going South" is the expression, and it is not generally known that Gore, is in about the same parallel of latitude as Mosgiel, and that it is, the centre of an agricultural district unequalled in extent and fertility in the Australasian Colonies. There are no doubt other districts equally fertile, but there is no district which has half the area of uniformly good land. Stretching far beyond Edendale to the south, it extends to Tapanui in the east, and to the north, far beyond Lumsden to the shores of Te Anau Lake. In its immediate neighbourhood, on the eastern banks of the Mataura, the land is already settled and cultivated, and a few years, will, we hope, give it the home-like appearance which attracts the eye in the Taieri and older settled districts. On the western side of the Mataura the land is still unsettled, but is now available, as the New Zealand Agricultural Company are cutting up their estate for sale on deferred payments, and the New Zealand Land Company are also putting theirs into market on the same principle. If the southern portion of New Zealand is to increase in wealth and population—for there can be no true wealth without population—it can only be by the settlement of lands which have hitherto lain in a comparatively unproductive state, whether as Crown lands or as large estates, and the bulk of good land has long since been sold. We have within the last few months annexed a new district, and have a large field for settlement—thanks to the page 10 connecting link of railway which we so long wanted. When the tide of settlement once sets in to a district, it flows on uninterruptedly, and we look during the next few years to progress in the South, as rapid and permanent as was made in the Oamaru and Timaru districts a few years ago. We are advised of a large influx to our shores of emigrants from Great Britain—men with more or less capital, who intend to throw in their lot with us. No doubt some of them, with recruits drawn from our settled districts, will in a few years, assisted by the easy terms of payment offered both by individuals and the State—as every settler requires a great deal of his capital to improve his land—build up on the banks of the Mataura, settlements, with thriving towns, and form a district which will, we take leave to say, equal any in the Old Country.

The following is from the Southland Times of September the 18th, 1879:—

The recent land sales on account of the Now Zealand Agricultural Company demand more than passing notice, because, firstly, the Company has fully redeemed the promise made of unreserved sale; and, secondly, that the terms offered by the Company are singularly favourable to the promotion of settlement. Nothing could be fairer or more liberal, singularly liberal in fact, than the conditions of the first day's sale—absolutely no reserve, and payments to extend over a period of ten years at the purchaser's option, and bearing only a light rate of interest. To the man of limited means the opportunity thus presented of acquiring a substantial freehold lacks a parallel. Even the very favourable terms offered at the June sale of land by the New Zealand and Australian Land Company, were not so liberal, and where there are two such Companies, both holding extensively, not waiting to be "burst up," but inviting purchase, on the most tempting terms, we do not think there is much room for complaint, on the score of monopoly or the lack of opportunity to the bona fide settler, to possess himself of a home-stead. To expatiate upon the quality of a great deal of the land held by the above companies would be supererogatory on our part. Better land is not to be met with in any part of Australasia, or so suitable in all respects for fanning on a moderate scale. And all this land will be disposed of in the long run for the purposes of bonâ fide settlement; and if the process, should involve, the introduction of a substantial yeoman class of settlers from Britain, the companies will have done well for the colony, and will have fairly earned whatever meed of profit may fall to their share. The reputation of the land of the Mataura and the Waimea Plains will yet resound throughout the Colonies. The term ever-verdant may be applied to it, whilst its fertility is next to inexhaustible.

Printed at the "Mercury" Office, Macquarie-street, Hobart Town, Tasmania,