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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 56

Mallee Pastoral Leases Act 1883

Mallee Pastoral Leases Act 1883.

The Mallee Pastoral Leases Act came into operation on the 1st December, 1883, and deals exclusively with an area of eighteen thousand square miles, situated in the North-Western District of Victoria.

The occupation of this portion of territory is acquired under leases, all of which will simultaneously expire twenty years after the commencement of the Act, and, on the expiration of this term, the land so leased, and all improvements thereon, revert absolutely to Her Majesty, her heirs, and successors.

The leases to be issued are classed under two divisions—the one having reference to Mallee allotments the other to Mallee blocks.

Mallee allotments range in area from one to thirty-two square miles each; they abut directly on or are adjacent to lands held either under lease or in fee-simple under the provisions of previous Land Acts.

The annual rent reserved on such allotments ranges from ten shillings to forty shillings per square mile, according to the natural grazing capability of the country included in such allotments.

Mallee blocks range in area from 10¾ square miles to 583 square miles, and are situated immediately to the north of the Mallee allotments, extending northward up to the banks of the River Murray.

The annual rent payable in respect of these blocks is calculated on the basis of 2d. for each sheep or 1s. for every head of cattle actually depastured on the block during the first five years, 4d. for each sheep or 2s. for each head of cattle during the succeeding five years, and 6d. for each sheep or 3s. for every head of cattle during the remainder of the term of the lease; but in no case is the annual rent of a block to be rated at less than 2s. 6d. per square mile.

Every Mallee block is subdivided into two moieties, the one of which, after being occupied by the lessee for a term of five years, reverts to the Crown, the other remaining in the occupation of the lessee for the full term of twenty years from the commencement of the Act.

The moieties so reverting to the Crown at the termination of the five years shall be dealt with as Parliament directs, and in default of such direction may be again leased as Mallee blocks or Mallee allotments, provided the term for which such land is so demised shall expire not later than twenty years after the commencement of this Act.

The right to a lease of any Mallee block is offered for by auction, and is acquired by the person who bids the highest sum by way of premium. If there be no bidder at auction, the right to a lease is granted to the first person who may thereafter lodge an application for the same and pay the annual rent assessed on the same.

The conditions under which Mallee land shall be held under lease are as follow:—
1.The rent shall be paid in half-yearly moieties.
2.The lessee shall not cultivate, assign, or sublet or subdivide his leasehold without the consent of the Board of Land and Works.
3.The lessee shall at once commence to destroy, and shall within three years from granting of the lease have destroyed, to the satisfaction of the Board of Land and Works, all vermin thereon; and thereafter keep the leasehold free of vermin to the satisfaction of the Board.
4.All houses, fences, wells, reservoirs, tanks, dams, and all improvements of a permanent character shall be kept in good condition and repair during the continuance of the lease.
5.Any portion of land comprised in a Mallee lease, not being the site of the homestead (which is restricted to 640 acres), may be resumed by Her Majesty for public purposes, and, on paying compensation for improvements effected by lessee, may resume for mining purposes and re-enter upon any land forming part of land leased.page 4
6.Her Majesty may resume, after three years' notice in Government Gazette, possession of any land demised by the lease, upon payment to lessee for is interest in such lease, together with the value of all permanent improvements thereon.

If houses, fences, wells, reservoirs, tanks, dams, or other permanent improvements are, with the sanction of the Board, erected on the moiety of a leasehold held for the term of five years only, the lessee shall, on the termination of the occupation of such moiety, be entitled to compensation therefor not to exceed the amount actually expended.

No land forming part of the Mallee country demised under the provision of this Act shall be alienated in fee-simple.

Upon the resumption of any portion of the leasehold, or upon the termination of the period of the lease, the lessee shall be paid the value of all wells, reservoirs, tanks, or dams of a permanent character constructed by him during currency of lease, and calculated to increase the carrying capability of the leasehold.

The interest of a lessee in the value of any buildings or fencing erected by him is gradually extinguished as the termination of the lease is approached, except in the case of improvements being effected with the previous consent of the Board during the last five years of the lease, in which case full valuation for the same will be allowed.

Every transfer of a lease shall be registered at the office of the Board of Land and Works.

To ensure the destruction of vermin within the Mallee country, the Governor in Council may declare all or any portion thereof to be a Vermin District, whereupon the owners, lessees, and occupiers of land within such district shall elect local committees. Such local committees shall take measures to carry out the destruction of vermin within their several districts, and with that object may recommend for the approval of the Governor an annual rate or assessment to be paid by the owners, lessees, or occupiers in respect of each square mile of land, and also in respect of the sheep and cattle depasturing thereon, within such districts; but the payment of such rate or assessment does not relieve the lessees or occupiers from any obligation imposed on them by this Act to destroy vermin upon the land leased or occupied by them, and to keep the same free from vermin.