Alexandra Times at KellyGang 24/2/1877
WANDERINGS AT THORNTON
One day last week we got on a horse about seventeen hands high, and took a turn round about just to see what we could pick up in the way of information regarding our pastoral and agricultural pursuits, and after a pleasant ride of six miles from Alexandra, lauded at Mr H Robinson's place at Thornton. This place was originally taken up by a Mr Dixon, sold by him to Mr Aitkin, and again resold to Robinson and Tossel, the present occupiers Lately a dissolution of partnership between Tossel and Robinson took place, and the purchased property was divided. The original Crown lease included about five mile river frontage by a depth of about three miles, All this land has now. been taken up by selectors, except some of the. hill country, which is very rough.
The alluvial flats along the Goulburn present some of the best and in Victoria for pastoral and agricultural purposes. The expense, however, of clearing off the timber is a very heavy item, it having cost on an average about £.10 per acre. Of this land Mr Robinson has about 500 acres, which is all laid down with English grasses It fattens a beast to 1 ½ acres. A great part of the land has been under cultivation. The average yield of wheat has been 20 bushels; of oats, 30 bushels, potatoes, 5 tons (as much 'as, 8 tons per acre has been got); peas, 40 bushels (one year, 70 bushels). Mr Robinson goes in principally for rearing cattle, and the beef grown here has formed a considerable item in the Alexandra market. In home; stock he has kept up a fair show, his entry, Nugget having got some good, useful animals, staunch in harness or saddle.
Mrs Tossel's property, about 400 acres rich alluvial land, and interest in Crown lease of run is next to Mr, Robinson's, and forms part of the original squatting station. Operations on this land are entirely confined to grazing. A good orchard ands kitchen garden with some fine old willows, show what a little attention can do in the way of giving a place a homely comfortable appearance. Close to Mrs Tossel's house a State school has been estabIished.1t was originally built as a place of worship , but in the hope that some advantage would be gained the building was transferred to the Education Department. This has since been found at great mistake, as it was only after a long delay and much correspondence that a few articles of furniture were obtained.
Even now the old slab forms remain, and a very indifferent residence for the teacher is erected is it skillion to the old building. Had the people kept their building for church purpose's, a new and substantial schoolhouse and teacher's residence could have been erected long ago. There are about 40 children attending the school and the teacher appears to give general satisfaction. Close by we come to the selection of Mr Downer, whose cottage, out-building, and splendid fruit garden have an air of comfort that is suggestive of home. The soil resembles that already described.
The Goulburn flows immediately behind the house, where we come i no to Thom’s ford, which can be crossed nearly eight months in the year. At present there is scarcely a foot of water in the deepest part. We had long promised to visit Eldon to have a look at Mr Thom’s superior-classed cattle ? ? the ? ? to our 17-hands horse, we passed rapidly through Mr O'Rourke, jun's selection, and dismounted at Mr Thom's house. This is about the oldest. building on the Goulburn, and it has a staid, calm look of dignity about it which time only could give to such an establishment. The willows and other trees, over 20 veers old, seem to give shelter to the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field. After a hot days ride it is no ordinary pleasure to climb up into a large mulberry tree, and pluck the ripe fruit in abundance as large as small cumbers. Walnut and all manner of fruit trees; is big as the eucalyptus globulus, shrubs flowers, and all manner of plants culled from the choicest gardens in Victoria, and gathered together with care, pleasure, and delight for 20 years by Mrs Thom, who is an enthusiastic florist and botanist. The places has got completely crowded, and contains enough of valuable plants to make two or three such gardens.
After a refreshing meal, which appears to be produced on old stations with a rapidity and abundance peculiar to such places, we had a turn round amongst the cattle for which this station has become celebrated. The purchased land, a rich alluvial flat about of 400 acres, is divided into convenient sized paddocks for classing the cattle. Model Duke a red bull, is of the best blood in Victoria. His pedigree has appeared in our columns. A roan heifer, 3 year old, is a picture, and has also a long pedigree. She is by Red King, by Moravian (imported); dam Queen of Spring, by Frederick the Great; g d Queen of May (imported), by Young Emperor, receiver of the first prize at Smithfield, 1851 ; g g d Miss Rosy, by Roan Richmond. Roan Richmond by Duke of Richmond, bred by the late Mr Bates, Those who wish to see some fine stock should visit Mr Thom's paddocks. One principle we noticed he has adopted which materially helps to make his cattle look well - he ,does not overstock his land. His sheep and cattle, even at this dry season, are all fit for the market.
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