12["The Far North Cattle Industry", The Western Mail (Perth, WA), Saturday 02 February 1907, page 8]




(By "Agricola.")

On a map of Australia and with Wyndham as the centre, describe a circle having a radius of 400 miles. The enclosed zone will contain some of the richest cattle-raising country in the Commonwealth--some authorities declare in the world. The circumference of the circle will extend to Broome in one direction and to Powell's Creek on the overland telegraph line to Port Darwin, in another. The area within the circle will include all the Kimberleys and the best portions of the Northern Territory. According to stockmen who have recently been droving from the Western Australian boundary to Queensland, there are one million head of cattle within this region. Official returns, admittedly defective, place the number at about 800,000. There can be no doubt, therefore, that by virtue of its geographical position Wyndham should become the Chicago ot the North.

A Heavy Waste.

Accepting the estimate of 800,000 cattle as being correct, it is evident that a great waste of raw material is taking place in these naturally fertile Northern lands. It is estimated that over 100,000 calves are branded every year on the various stations comprised within the zone referred to. If the Northern cattle industry were developed on right lines, about 180,000 head of stock should he converted into coin every year. At the present time some 15,000 or 18,000 find their way by steamer to Fremantle, and a few thousand are overlanded to Queensland. Sixty thousand that should be disposed of every year remain on the station. Valuing the beasts at 5 per head, the annual loss to the State is 300,000. As the seasons in the Far North are almost invariably good--last year was the worst experienced for many years--it is inevitable that this steady increase will lead to disastrous results. The runs will soon be greatly overstocked, while cattlemen will be standing out of money that should come to them if proper market facilities prevailed. The lack of market conveniences is seriously handicapping the development of one of the richest portions of the State. At the same time, it is depriving the country of the circulation of hundreds of thousands of pounds which would be distributed within it were the Northern cattle industry placed on a sound commercial footing.