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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

From the Otago Daily Times, Saturday, March 2, 1895

From the Otago Daily Times, Saturday, March 2, 1895.

[unclear: vit]iculturist in the service of the Victorian Government, and Mr. J. C. Black-[unclear: pom]ologist to the Government of New Zealand, arrived by the southern express evening, after a visit of inspection to the various districts of Otago. They were [unclear: ed] upon last evening by a Daily Time reporter, to whom Mr. Blackmore [unclear: lined] that the New Zealand

[gap — reason: illegible]ment being Aware of the Abilities of Mr. Bragato as an Expert had Invited Him

[unclear: st] New Zealand with a view to inspecting parts of the Colony thought to be [unclear: ble] for the cultivation of the vine. Mr. Blackmore stated that, in accordanc[unclear: e] instructions, he met Mr. Bragato at the Bluff on the 19th inst., and proceeded invercargill and thence

Through Central Otago.

Bragato visited Queenstown and the surrounding districts, also all the land in the [unclear: ty] of Arrow town. From Arrowtown they proceeded over the Crown Range to [unclear: roke], Lake Wanaka, and after visiting all the country surrounding the lake, [unclear: eded] by Queensberry to Cromwell. From Cromwell they passed on to Clyd[unclear: e] through the Waikerikeri Valley, and examined all the interior valleys and footing along the Dunstan Range for some considerable distance. After examining th[unclear: e] of the country in the neighbourhood of the Dunstan Flat they went across th[unclear: e] to Fraser's Flat and inspected the surrounding country, after which they went [unclear: roy's] Gully and came out at Bald Hill Flat. Having gone through the country [unclear: een] that and Roxburgh they pushed on to Coal Creek Flat, Roxburgh, and [unclear: gh] the country intervening as far as Moa Flat, thence to Lawrence, where th[unclear: e] was taken to Dunedin. It will thus be seen that Mr. Bragato has seen a goo[unclear: d] of Central Otago.

Mr. Bragato

[unclear: gave] his impressions of the country he had seen. He commenced by endors[unclear: ing] remarks made by Mr. Blackmore in an interview with a Times reporter about page 10 nine months ago as to the suitability of the Central Otago district for fruit an[unclear: d] culture. He found that Queenstown and Arrowtown and the surrounding [unclear: dist] were

Eminently Suitable

for the extensive cultivation of fruit, especially stone fruit, which, in addition being sold as green fruit, may be utilised in the manufacture of prunes an[unclear: d] plums, and also distillation purposes. Furthermore, he stated that he had neve[unclear: r] a more suitable country for the cultivation of

The Walnut,

which, if undertaken, would prove highly remunerative. As to the cultivation o[unclear: f] vine in those two districts, he thought that the temperature was rather low, bu[unclear: t] in patches, properly sheltered and with good aspects, it was possible to cultivat[unclear: e] grow vines outside with good results.

Mr. Blackmore remarked at this point that great difficulty was experience[unclear: d] obtaining reliable information in regard to the rainfall and temperature in the [unclear: abo] mentioned districts, and if such information were obtained it would have [unclear: grea] facilitated Mr. Bragato in coming to a decision as to the variety most suitable [unclear: i] planting in those districts.

Mr. Bragato continued to say that in the vicinity of Lake Wanaka they [unclear: visi] Messrs. M'Dougall and G. Turnbull's and Mrs. Russell's properties, and ther[unclear: e] extraordinary heavy crops of peaches, plums, and other fruits; also several [unclear: varie] of grapes in the open air. which, although a late variety, they were assured [unclear: wo] eventually develop to maturity. Mr. Bragato, however, thinks that possibly [unclear: t] temperature is not sufficiently high till Queensberry, between Lake Wanak[unclear: a] Cromwell, is reached. The climatic conditions and the nature of the soi[unclear: l] Queensberry to Roxburgh, including Bannockburn, Cromwell, Clyde, and surrounding districts, are eminently favourable for

The Cultivation of the Vine

for wine-making and distillation purposes, provided that irrigation is adopted i[unclear: n] lighter soils—that is, in that class of soil which has no subsoil but only an [unclear: underlay] of gravel or shingle. Wherever there is heavier soil with clayey subsoil, suc[unclear: h] would retain the moisture, with thorough cultivation, irrigation would not be necessary. Mr. Bragato thinks that the

Enormous Amount of Country

surrounding Clyde, Conroy's Gully, and Roxburgh is exceptionally suitable fo[unclear: r] extensive culture of the grape—that is, it may be planted almost by the ten[unclear: s] thousands of acres. In fact, there is a source of wealth in Central Otago which seems to be

Little Known Outside the District.

When the profits of grapegrowing are taken into consideration, the preliminar[unclear: y] of planting and preparing the vineyard, compared with other branches of agriculture is a mere bagatelle. It would

Employ an Enormous Population

and improve greatly the value of the land. At the end of five years, when the [unclear: vi] are in full bearing, the value of the land would be at least

£100 per Acre.

An acre of grapes should give a return of £15 to £20 profit. The original cost [unclear: of] preparation and planting the vineyard up to the time it comes into full bearing would page 11 [unclear: be] about £8 per acre, and after that the cost of pruning and cultivation would be £2 10s. per acre There are

Tens of Thousands of Acre

[unclear: in] Otago which could be easily irrigated with the water which is used for sluicing purposes by miners. It is a thousand pities (Mr. Bragato said) that in this district so much valuable land should be washed away by the gold-miner. The fruitgrower[unclear: s] about the district of Roxburgh labour

Under a Great Disadvantage

In having to cart the produce fully forty miles to a railway, and those living beyond, in Clyde and other places, were still farther away from a railway. In fact,

Railway Communication.

to the district referred to is required in order to fully develop this important and lucrative industry, which will set thousands of families on the land and convert the wilderness into a smiling garden. He added that the majority of

New Zealand People have no Idea of the Vast Wealth of the Otago District

if better facilities were offered for the proper development of fruit and vine growing, The extensive growing of fruit and vines would support a large population, but it could not be expected that great sums would be invested unless the industry was by some means fostered, especially by better communication with centres of population and by the establishment of

An Experimental Station

in a central part of the district (the most suitable he thought to be Clyde), in order that technical instruction might be given to those wishing to embark in the industry. Instruction should be given in the same manner as was done by Mr. Blackmore, and in travelling through the district he found that his efforts had been greatly appreciated. Mr. Bragato was satisfied that Central Otago could be cultivated to such an extent as to

Supply not only Local and Australian Markets, but even the Home Markets.

In referring again to the matter of irrigation, Mr. Bragato said that

Wonderful Facilities Existed in Central Otago for Irrigation

purposes in comparison with all parts of the Australian colonies. Apart from the water, which is already brought on the land by the miners, sufficient water could easily be raised from the Molyneux, by the erection of a weir across the river or other simple means, to irrigate the whole country. The waters of the Molyneux were also as fertilising as those of the Nile. Another means of getting water was by the construction of reservoirs in the large gullies. Speaking of

The Demand for Wine,

Mr, Bragato said the market was so unlimited for wine, either for consumption as wine or for distillation, that no matter what quantity was produced it was not sufficient to supply the demand. He therefore thought, seeing that the Otago Central had such a beautiful climate and all the requisite conditions for the successful page 12 cultivation of the vine, that New Zealand should have a share of the marke[unclear: t], Central Otago district was eminently suitable, he added, for the cultivation of grap[unclear: e] for distillation purposes for brandy.

Mr. Bragato, it may be mentioned, intends to visit Akaroa and Nelson, [unclear: a] Wellington and other districts in the North Island, including the Hawke's Bay district. He will afterwards return here, and will again visit the interior of Otago arrangements having been made for the delivery of lectures there by himself and Mr. Blackmore, who will also accompany him on his second visit. The first of these lectures will be given at Roxburgh by Mr. Bragato, who will then go on to Clyde and deliver a lecture there on "Vine Culture." This lecture will be followed by one by Mr. Blackmore on "Fruit Culture." The object of Mr. Bragato's second visit to Central Otago is to try and induce some Dunedin people to join with the residents of that district in establishing the vine industry there. The people of Dunedin. he says have no idea of the

Vast Source of Wealth

that exists in Central Otago if they will only develop it. As showing the great strides made in the vine industry in Victoria during the past six years, Mr. Bragato mentioned that 20,000 acres of vineyards had been planted during that time, the industry having been largely assisted by the Government, who gave £25,000 in two years in the way of bonuses for vine-planting.

On his return to Victoria, Mr. Bragato will furnish a report to the Government of New Zealand of his visit to the Colony. He intends to take away with his samples of the soil from various districts. These samples will be analysed, and the results of the analyses given in his report.

In the Otago Daily Times of March 26, 1895, will be found a report of Signor Bragato's visits to other parts of the colony—including Nelson, Wellington, and Hawke's Bay—of which this is the concluding sentence:—"The North Island vineyards contain the best varieties of grapes yet seen in New Zealand by Signor Bragato, and the cultivation is generally according to approved systems; but for the extent of suitable country, Central Otago, in the expert's opinion, holds the palm.