71["Good-bye to the Kimberley", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 18 January 1914, First Section page 4]
Good-bye to the Kimberleys -
What the Recent Developments Mean -
The Union Cold Storage Company -
And What It Is -
Trade Shifted to Port Darwin -
Which Will Become the Capital of Kimberley -
A Great. Opportunity -
That the Government Missed.
Are we at this moment losing the Kimberleys? According to the very best information the whole of that immense and rich province which forms the northernmost portion of this State is already gone.
It may be said that the change of ownership of the Kimberley pastoral properties will not affect the commercial value of that great district to
the Perth end of the State. Nor would it if the channels of trade remained unaltered; but that is just the very point. The new owners will not consider the necessities of Perth. They are out to make the most profit possible, and they will sell their cattle and meat in the world's markets, not at Robb's jetty. They will not send a hoof to Fremantle while they can do better by shipping to London or Vladivostock or Hankow. They won't bother about maintaining a trade route in order to send a few carcases to feed Perth, but will draft our stock to where it can be handled largely and economically. This is a world movement, not a parochial butchery.
Still, it may be said that we shall reap the benefit of their enterprise and expenditure of money. But, again, we won't. It is a million to one that the new bosses of the Kimberley meat business will establish chilling works at Port Darwin, and every horn will be droved to that potential outlet. Port Darwin will become a great tropic port, because the centralisation of the cattle trade will give it the required stimulus to progress. Not only the Kimberley cattle, but Kimberley business of all kinds will be diverted there. The stations will receive their supplies from the centre to which they send their stock. Port Darwin will not only be the chief port of Nordalia, but it will become the capital of Kimberley.
Wyndham, on the other hand, will be suppressed, annihilated. Wyndham, the natural if embryonic metropolis of all that splendid territory, will have the little it has taken from it Wyndham and the magnificent Cambridge Gulf will be a mark on the map, but nothing more. The Government could have saved Wyndham and could have held the Kimberleys for W.A.,, but the Government has failed. Now it is probably too late. If the State had installed freezing and chilling works at Wyndham two years ago instead of wasting the money on a State steamer that they are now anxious to sell, the Union Cold Storage Company, which is master of the situation, would probably have fallen in with the channel thus created. If the Government had provided a good supply of water at Wyndham instead of specking in marine derelicts the chances are that Wyndham would have been saved.
Chilling works at Wyndham would have paid, if we are to believe those best able to judge. The return would have been sufficient, we are told, to show a profit after providing for a sinking fund. Furthermore, the people whom the Government professed to be so devilish anxious about would have got better and cheaper meat. The cattle could be killed in prime condition up there, and no loss in weight would have occurred in transit. But no, a poor little socialistic experiment was preferred, and the experiment has utterly failed, and, as it has turned out, the source of supply has been cut off! Even though the powerful Union Storage Company should not mop up the majority of the stations in the Kimberleys, the other owners will be bound to drift to where the great chilling works are established, and where the whole trade is concentrated. That is inevitable, and so we can bid good-bye to the Kimberleys in any case.
What is the Union Cold Storage Company? It is a huge company which was formed in 1897 with a capital of £1,600,000. Last November it increased its resources by issuing £500,000 4½ % per cent. first mortgage debenture stock at 93½ per cent, (worse terms than poor Happy Jack's), also 500,000 6 per cent "cumu- lative preference shares of £1 each at 21/ per share and 300,000 ordinary shares of £1 each. The whole of the latter were subscribed in cash by Sir Wm. Vestey and Mr. Edmund Hoyle Vestey, the joint managing directors, who seem to be the chief people in the co. In fact, a large portion of the new capital was devoted to purchasing from the Vesteys the Blackfriars Lighterage and Cartage Company, the Pure Ice Co., Ltd., and the International Export Co., as well as the acquisition of the freezing and cold storage works at Hankow and the establishment of similar works in Argentine and Astrakhan.
The Union Cold Storage Company has establishments at London, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Glasgow, Riga, Kosloff, Kourgan, St Petersburg, Chertkovo; Griazi, Yladivostock and Moscow, and the excuse for obtaining new capital was that operations were to be extended. As will be seen, the company has already launched out by annexing the Kimberley areas, and, as we have indicated, there is good reason ito believe that part of its North Australian scheme will be the erection of large freezing and chilling works at Port Darwin. Already Messrs. Copley Bros. and Patterson's pastoral leases, comprising a total of over 6,000,000 acres, have actually been taken, over, and negotiations are proceeding, if they are not already completed, for the acquisition of other large areas of the best cattle country at present occupied. The greatest secrecy is being observed until the deals are through or off, but we understand that the Union Cold Storage Co. will control over 10,000,000 acres if the stations under offer are secured.