Alexandra Times at KellyGang 5/8/1876
MORNINGTON AND SOUTH GIPPSLAND
By A. TRAVELLER
In the morning, at daylight, I started on my way, and about one mile from my starting place I thought I would call into the first settler's or selector's that I came to. My first place was Baker's, where I was made welcome, and could not persuade them to take a sixpence for either my horse or myself. So much is the contrast between the wealthy squatter and the poor selector.
Now; sir, for a description of the ground I travelled over to-day. The land at and near Baker's is not of first-rate quality, being mostly composed of light sandy loam for three or four inches, overlying stiff blue clay. The herbage growing upon it is a strong coarse, grass, intersected with what is commonly called sword or cutting-grass. This description of country extends eight or nine miles. Then you come upon a better class of land, an improvement takes place in the timber, &c, except the grass, as the dense hazel covers the ground much in the same way as matches would cover the round of a match-box suppose you stood it upon its end, so that, no grass can grow until it is cleared by the following process, viz., cuttings it low, letting it lay on the ground say two months and then burning it off, when the residue is collected in heaps and burned. The gums and other kinds of timber, which are a sight to see, are either rung or grubbed, but, mostly rung or ringed (I do not know which is the correct word)
One selector I called upon, Mr Scott, who is, and always should be called, the pioneer of McDonald's Track selectors, not only from being the first to take up land in this quarter, but from the energy he has put into the matter, laboring under difficulties as he has, not only from want of funds but from the hard and rugged life he and his family have led during the past two or three years. After eighteen months of hard delving and improving the land in the manner before desorbed, it has been soon with English grasses, and now being well stocked with cattle has the appearance of an English park. Indeed it shows that still a man with energy and industry, not only in himself but the family helping, can raise himself up to a degree of prosperity while others are doing the Mcawber business.
Many of the selectors have settled down to do that which the Act tells them they should, but a great many, I opine, will see an injury in the question whether dummyism is carried on. Now, sir, in this place I think that not one in, eight but is merely acting the part in the swindling of the colony. What is the earthly use of, say, two young men or more having selected 320 acres or so each, and having it granted to them? Perhaps they have never been on the ground until the license is given to them at Corrupt Hall, in Latrobe street, and they start with a buggy, not a cart or waggon. Will I tell you the good things they have in that trap? First, let us glance at their outfit:- Two hand boxes, containing two bell toppers, which have inside half-a-dozen silk handkerchiefs, four pair kid gloves, four do trowsers of Milton's best make and pattern, Albert ties, patent-leather boots, shirts as grand. in the get-up as Dr L L Smith's, 21b of nails (you see they are for building), two American half axes, hammer, and two splendid breech-loaders; eatables, preserved turkey, fish, mutton, bacon and hams, best china plates, and best forks and knives that Johnson can turn out.
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