F. Edward (Frederick Edward) Hulme.

A Settler's 35 Years' Experience in Victoria, Australia online

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The company should have a depôt, where everything necessary for the
settlement could be supplied at the lowest possible rate, and also
undertake to preserve and market the produce of the settlers to the
best advantage, to ensure them the highest possible price, like Chaffey
Bros. propose doing. To go more into detail and figures as to the first
year's expenses of a family of five, I would put it down thus: -

Cost of bringing out and placing
upon the land a family of five
individuals £50 0 0
Provisions for one year 50 0 0
- - - - £100 0 0
Stock -
2 horses at £10 20 0 0
4 cows at £7 28 0 0
4 pigs 3 0 0
Fowls 2 0 0
- - - - 53 0 0
Implements -
Dray 10 0 0
Plough 6 0 0
Harrows 5 0 0
Sundry tools 2 10 0
Dairy utensils 2 10 0
Harness 6 0 0
House utensils 5 0 0
- - - - 37 0 0
Seeds -
For 20 acres of wheat 6 0 0
For 10 acres of oats 2 5 0
For 5 acres of maize 0 5 0
For garden seeds 1 0 0
50 fruit trees (various) 3 0 0
- - - - 12 10 0
- - - - -
Total £202 10 0
- - - - -

If a family of five - husband, wife, one daughter, and two strong lads
of from 14 to 16 years of age - entered upon the land in the month of
January, and started at once putting up a house and getting stuff
ready, they should be able to do all the work among themselves, and
get the wheat and oats in in June - orchard and garden in July. The
maize ground could be left until the fence was up round the crop. The
amounts put down for food may look small, but it would not be more than
that, as in six months (and before, with milk, butter and eggs) they
would have potatoes, &c., from the garden, and one pig killed, which
together would be half a living. Such a scheme as this could be easily
worked out in detail, and thus I think millions of capital could be
profitably invested. In fact, without some such scheme I don't know how
the vast territories under the British Crown, now lying waste, can be
utilised. A few such settlements would give an immense impetus to trade
and manufacture, and we should soon cease to hear the cries of "want
of employment," "over-population," and "over-production." N.B. - Such
a scheme should commend itself to General Booth. It may further be
said as regards settling a large population upon the land with intense
culture - What is the amount of land a family can comfortably live
upon? The sub-division of land has taken place considerably in the
original eastern States of America. I see by the Government reports
of the State of Massachusetts, 71,000 persons live from the products
of farms averaging only 56 acres, and the average size of farms over
the whole State in 1850 was 99 acres; in 1875, 76 acres, so that they
are now being reduced. The income of these farmers average about
£125 per year, independent, I presume, of farm products consumed by
themselves. Any way, it shows a very thrifty, frugal, and industrious
people. The population also has increased in the 13 original States
from 15 per square mile in 1780, including towns, to 55 in 1880, _or
over 11 individuals to the acre_. This is amazing! Then take Belgium,
France, and Ireland, where families live, or appear to do so, or are
compelled to do so, comfortably upon only five, eight, and ten acres of
land. Take France, as its position, various industries, and climate
much resemble Victoria. I find by the Government reports that there is
a population of nineteen millions (19,000,000) existing on farms of
about eight acres each. This is wonderful! And, as our Governments are
partial to commissions, it would be very interesting and instructive
if we had one to go through France, as they did through California, to
see how these farmers manage their system of farming, various products,
prices, &c., also diet, beverages and social standing. It would, I
think, open the eyes of some of the settlers in Victoria who say they
cannot make a living on 320 acres. I can give a very good example of
frugality, and also details of a farm in Ireland under Earl Spencer's
prize system, on his estates. A tenant named Hill was awarded the first
prize; area, 11 acres.

Division of Land.

1 acre 1 rood, turnips and mangles.
1 acre 2 roods, potatoes.
4 acres, oats.
- - - - -
6 acres.
1 acre 2 roods, upland.
1 acre, lowland.
1 acre 3 roods, permanent pasture.
- - - - -
11 acres.

Half an acre of land seeded after potatoes, 1-1/4 after manured roots,
2-1/2 under lea-oats.

Live stock consisted of 1 horse, 3 dairy cows, 2 heifers, 2 pigs, and
46 poultry.



Cr. £ s. d. Dr. £ s. d.
Produce of cows 35 0 0 Rent and taxes 12 18 4
Oats (exclusive of horse feed) 21 0 0 Wages and keep of servant 22 0 0
Profit on beast sold 19 0 0 Seeds 1 1 0
Potatoes (5-1/2 tons at £3) 16 10 0 Labour (spring and harvest) 5 0 0
2 calves 9 0 0 Hand feed to cows 1 12 0
Profit on pigs 6 0 0
Eggs 6 10 0
- - - - - - - - - -
£113 0 0 £42 11 4
- - - - - - - - - -


Cr. £113 0 0
Dr. 42 11 4
- - - - -
Profit £70 8 8
- - - - -

I (the reporter) asked Hill what wages weekly would have been equal
to this. He seemed astonished at such a question, and confessed that
no reasonable wages could have placed him in such a comfortable and
independent position.

This is a modest affair, and yet the tenant was most contented and

In concluding this section, I must say I would very much like to see
in Victoria, a small model farm of say 25 acres of tillage as a dairy
farm; everything to be consumed on the farm; that is, all the produce
from the land - hay, straw, fodder plants, roots, etc. - and the whole to
be under the direction and supervision of the Minister of Agriculture,
and the Government Agricultural Chemist, - - Martin, Esq., and
everything carried out under an intelligent tenant and his family, and
a strict balance-sheet kept.

A Glimpse at the Future of Australia.

I am not so sanguine as many that Australia, in the near future, will
have such a very large population, and particularly a European one.
There is not temperate climate enough. I have already stated that
wheat cannot be profitably grown beyond 30 degrees of latitude north,
and we may say most of the European products also, and the climate,
beyond another 20 degrees, is not suitable for European constitutions
to labor in. If we, therefore, draw a line at 30 degrees across the map
of Australia, we shall see the insignificant portion there is left in
the temperate zone; we shall find it not one-fourth of the continent.
Take it through Western Australia, and there is just a little corner.
What, then, is the future of the enormous country north of 30 degrees,
and which is only suitable for tropical and semi-tropical products, all
of which will grow to the greatest perfection? The question then is,
will Europeans grow these products? I think not. At least, not European
labor. It must, and no doubt will be done, by large companies, by
employing Chinese, Coolie, or Kanaka labor, under the superintendence
of Europeans. These hotter regions, otherwise, will never be utilized.
Therefore, it is my belief that instead of persecuting and expelling
these races as the fashion now is, we shall be glad to invite them
to assist in developing this vast territory. I think this conclusion
will strike everyone as correct, who calmly reflects upon the subject.
Besides, the products of these districts, such as sugar, rice, tea,
coffee, etc., require so much hand labor, that to compete with these
with other countries which have cheap labor, will be impossible. Even
at the present day, neither Englishmen nor Europeans will do the
necessary work in the northern districts, and even in Victoria our
tobacco, hops, and vine industries can hardly be carried on without
the despised Chinese. We have an example already in the sugar industry
in Queensland. Recently a plant was up for sale that cost £26,000, and
the highest offer was £5000. What are we then to do without this cheap
labor? Without it this vast territory must evidently remain in a state
of nature, or still be devoted to wandering herds of cattle, and by
their vast numbers cripple the farmers of the more temperate parts by
competition. Where, then, are the boasted millions of population to
come from, which so many calculate upon?

One great factor which will stay the progress of this great country
more than any other is the present jealousy and war between Capital and
Labor. No country can advance without there is perfect security for
life and property. If capital cannot find security in one country, it
can easily go to another. Social order must be maintained at all costs.
It appears coming to this, whether the Elected Government is to rule
the country, or the Trades' Hall Council. There is a class of men in
Melbourne who want to fix things according to their own Utopian ideas,
and upon such "hard and fast" lines that would be totally unbearable
and tyrannical even to their own class. It would be well for them to
ponder the wise words recently uttered by President Harrison, viz.,
"_The safety of the State, the good order of the community, all that is
good, the capacity, indeed, to produce material wealth, is dependent
upon the intelligence and social order. Wealth and commerce are timid
creatures, they must be assured that the rest will be safe before they
build. So it is always in those communities where the most perfect
order is maintained, where intelligence is protected, where the Church
of God, and the institutions of religion are revered and respected,
we find the largest developments of material wealth._" There is far
too much "dog in the manger" feeling among the well-to-do artisans
in Melbourne. They are jealous of others coming into this good land.
They were glad enough to come themselves. It is the fear that a few
shillings will come off their own wages. It is strange that sensible
men, with any idea in their own heads, can listen to, or be guided by
the strange contradictory logic of the leaders of the labor party.
Recently, one of them said, speaking against the "Bloated Capitalists,"
"those who are living without working, you may depend upon it, are
living upon those who do work, and that all independent people are
'loafers or parasites' on the State." Holding that independence is
a crime. Well, many of their own class, by industry and frugality,
are independent or approaching to it. These, then, are graduating to
this new species of crime. Another said these "loafers and parasites"
should be compelled to turn out and work, and in the next breath called
competition the work of the devil, and over-production the curse of
the colony. According to this logic, if all were workers and all
producers - what then? The greatness of Melbourne consists of the great
number of independent non-workers, who employ and consume the produce
of the workers, and this is also the secret of England's greatness, and
their wealth is assisting the great national works of the whole world.
These wiseacres even dictate to the farmers in this matter, thinking,
I suppose, that they cannot see a yard from the plough-tail. If we get
an overplus, and the prices consequently lower, and of which they reap
the benefit, they tell us it is over-production again, and say, "Why
don't you just produce what the colony requires, and then you would be
all right?" But should we do so, and their loaf be double the price,
which it would be, they would be the first to cry out that "we were
not utilising the land." Not considering that in advocating this grand
remedy, this colony, instead of exporting millions of bushels of wheat
to feed the hungry in Europe, would simply revert to a sheep walk, or
nearly so, and two-thirds of the agricultural population would swell
the present too over-crowded cities, and increase their own ranks with
double the number of workers - and what then? The railways also might
shut up, as sheep, &c., can travel to market on their own legs. But
enough of this. The farming and the town interests are identical, the
one cannot prosper without the other, but the farmer can get over a
pinch best. Farming also is paramount, and Governments should see to
it as soon as possible and establish farm colonies - see that the large
estates are put to the best use. Previous Governments have frittered
away the best of the land by special surveys, and permitting dummyism.
_They should also see that the remaining unalienated land is kept in
the hands of the State, and only leased to tenants._ A 20 years' lease,
renewable, is almost as good as a freehold, and suits thousands better.
Large estates in England have been let in this way, and have remained
in the hands of the same tenants for generations. As I have previously
said, I now emphasize again, viz. - PUT THE PEOPLE ON THE LAND AT ALL
COSTS! - without which it is impossible, even in Victoria, to have a
large population or prosperity in town or country.


In concluding, I trust this little "Sketch from Life" and personal
experience and advice therein contained, may cause many in the "dear
old land" who are situated as I was, and others, to take heart and
courage, and I doubt not the same blessing will attend them. They may
have a rough time for a few years, and many ups and downs, but what of
that? Labor with plenty, gives the best health, strength, enjoyment and
longevity. Thus, with a firm trust in the "All-wise" to direct their
path, their feet shall never slip, and they shall cause the "wilderness
to blossom as the rose," and, "by the good hand of God upon them,"
build up a home, as surely as Nehemiah built up Jerusalem, and to cheer
their hearts I will give them a song to sing all along their pilgrim


All the way my Saviour leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate'er befalls me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Saviour leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the rock before me,
Lo, a spring of joy I see!

All the way my Saviour leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father's house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song, through endless ages,

N.B. - The profit, if any, from the sale of this little sketch will be
devoted to the furtherance of True Temperance.



Rae Bros., Printers, 547 & 549 Elizabeth Street



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Online LibraryF. Edward (Frederick Edward) HulmeA Settler's 35 Years' Experience in Victoria, Australia → online text (page 4 of 4)