The Argus at KellyGang 8/2/1864

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(full text transcription)


(From the Riverine Herald, Fed. 8)

The awards in the cases of the runs of Jerrimul, Walwa, Wermatong, Tintaldra, and Curriong, in the occupation of Mr Sydney Grandison Watson, in the Beechworth and Omeo districts, having been referred back to the arbitrators, were brought under their consideration on Wednesday last, at Echuca. Mr Skene attended on the part of the Board of Land and Works. The appellant was also in attendance. The arbitrators were- R R Haverfield. appointed by the Board of Land and Works; T M'Leod Palmer, by the County Court judge of the district of Yackandandah ; and A D Strachan, appointed by the appellant. In all these cases the arbitrators had fixed the yearly rental of the runs at a lower rate than the assessment returns of 1861. The Board intimated its willingness to accept a rental equivalent to those returns, and with respect to the first four runs the appellant offered no opposition. Awards, therefore, were given for these amounts. In the fifth case, that of Curriong, the arbitrators had previously found the run to be capable of carrying 900 head of cattle, and fixed the rent at £90 per annum; the Government arbitrator, however, refusing to sign the award in consequence of its being below the returns of 1861. About 500 acres have been alienated from the run, for which an allowance according to the act, of twelve head of cattle to the 100 acres, at 2s. per head, would not be sufficient to make the difference between the rental demanded by the Board about £280—and the amount fixed by the arbitrators. It was shown by Mr Skene that in 1860 1,500 head of cattle were re- turned; in 1861, 2,409; and in 1862, 2,003. In each of the two last years an allowance had been made in the run of £10 3s 4d, for 820 acres alienated prior to 1861. The rent at which the run was now estimated was £230 4s. 8d., from which the arbitrators would have to make a deduction for 181a 1r and 9p sold before July, 1862.

The award had been declared to be invalid because it was not shown on the face of it that land bad been alienated from the run. Had that been done it would still have been informal, and the board would have attacked the appellant in some other way. Mr Watson drew the attention of the arbitrators to the 86th clause of the Land Act of 1862, which, although it forbids the assessment of a run at a lower rate than the returns of 1861, he contended distinctly excepts from this veto such runs as have had land alienated from them (by sale or otherwise) since 1861 and before arbitration. In other words, an award lower than the returns of 1861, in any case where land has been alienated since said returns of 1861, is good in law. In such cases, he submitted, arbitrators could decide according to their conviction of the actual grazing capabilities. The above was also the opinion of the Attorney-General, who would have been obliged to admit the validity of the Curriong award if it had only had on the face of it that land was sold between the date of the returns of 1861 and the date of the arbitration.

An award for £90 was given, signed by Messrs. Palmer and Strachan. The costs in this case, with which the Board of Land and Works is charged, amount to £160 6s.

Fresh awards were given in the cases of the runs known as Kangaroo Ground and Burrowe, in the Beechworth district, fixing their respective rentals according to the assessment returns of 1861.

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