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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Tasmania

page 8

Tasmania.

Climate.—The climate of Tasmania is admirable. It is hardly ever hot or unpleasantly cold. Greater heat and cold are experienced in England than are known in Tasmania. The weather is less variable than it is in England. The climate suits all English fruits, flowers, vegetables, and farm produce; and Tasmania is known throughout the Australian Colonies for its excellent fruit and potatoes. The rainfall is more equal than it is in Australia, and droughts less frequent. Tasmania is peculiarly healthy, and on this account, as well as for the cheapness of living there and the beauty of the scenery, is admirably adapted to invalids and those whose limited means will not allow of comfortable residence in England.

The Soil.—The soil of some parts of Tasmania, where land is yet open for selection, is of the first order for agriculture. This land, when the property of the Crown, may be purchased for per acre cash, or £1. 6s. 8d. on fourteen years credit, i.e., by instalments running over the period.

The best land is heavily timbered, but much of the timber is valuable, and it not infrequently happens that land is bought for the sake of the timber only. The gum-tree is convertible into boards, paling, shingles, posts, and rails, both for the market and for home use. Most of the houses are weatherboard, roofed with shingles, and such houses, in the Tasmanian climate, are sufficient protection. The posts and rails supply fencing. The blackwood, myrtle, and musk are timbers of an ornamental kind.

The land is rough-cleared in the spring, all scrub and trees up to eighteen inches in girth being felled and lopped. The large trees being ringed in the height of summer the fallen bush is burnt off, grass seed is sown in the ashes, and the result is a sward upon which stock may be fed for two or three years. By that time the smaller stumps are easily removable, and a crop of grain can be hoed in. In the course of two or three years more the land can be ploughed, and thenceforth the clearing of the big trees and stumps proceeds by degrees until the land is entirely free from them.

Farming.—There is a splendid opening in Tasmania for the man who can work. If he has some amount of capital to start with his success will be more rapid; but a good and steady farm labourer may, in Tasmania, hope to end his days as a freeholder, with money to his credit in the Bank. I know one man who went out as a farm labourer, and now, while yet in the prime of life, owns, together with his sons, for whom he has acquired land, 740 acres of freehold property and a homestead fitted with every comfort. This is one of many who to my knowledge have prospered in this way.

Labour.—There is an excellent opening in Tasmania for agricultural and mining labour. Wages range as follows:—Good Farm Labourers from 14s. to £1 a week with lodging and rations or board; the general rate is about 15s. Boy hands on form 10s. to 12s. with lodging, &c. Day work for men 5s. to 6s. per day ordinarily; at harvest time the daily wage rises to 8s. Pick and shovel work on roads, 7s. to 8s. per day. Work on mines, 8s. to 10s. per day.

E. Braddon

, Agent-General for Tasmania. 3, Westminster Chambers, Victoria Street, London, S.W.