* (From our Rambling Reporter.) This interesting locality, which I lately visited, is distant about 25 miles from Ashburton, and about 10 from the Spread Eagle Agriculture is not a feature in this district, the principal productions being posts and rails and firewood, and the only cultivation is confined to a few patches near the foot of the hills. The land between the “Eagle” and the hills has mostly been purchased by the proprietors of the Alford run, of which Mr. L. B. Corsbie acts as manager. Some of this land is of a very superior quality, and would be more profitable to the country if broken up and cropped than lying comparatively idle in tussock. It was originally intended to continue the Eakaia and Alford Forest railway through the centre of this block, but the tightness of the money market, and other causes, compelled the company to cease operations at Methven, which the landholders on the south side of the north river consider too near the hills to be available for extension towards Alford, without turning back at an acute angle, and this is considered objectionable, as adding to the length of the line without proportionate benefit. As, however, these land-owners are subject to be taxed by the operations of the District Railways Act for the cost of the line, they feel that they will be unjustly treated, as at present the difficulty experienced in crossing the north branch precludes their making the Rakaia and Methven line of much utility to themselves, and the proposed bridge over the north branch will bo too near the hills for them. However, when the tax comes to be inflicted, we will probably hear more about the matter. The roads in this part of the Mount Somers road district are a splendid example of “how not to do it.” The formed and metalled ways are religiously shunned by the travelling public where possible, and the native tussock used in preference to the abortions called metalled roads. Across Taylor’s stream Mr. Butt is busy with the erection of a bridge across Taylor’s stream. The bottom of this branch is very rough, and the pile driving extremely difficult in consequence of the number and size of the boulders. The timber used in the construction, is Alford Forest black birch for the piles, caps, and corbels, and Oxford birch for the top work. The latter is of very good quality, but the local wood is not, I think, calculated to lasc more than five years at most. The local bush is of a very stunted and meagre description, and only fit for fencing or firewood. Some few years ago Mr. Tisch had a saw mill at work there, but ho did not get rich over it. He, however, intends at some early date to have another try in a block of 600 acres which he owns there, and which he described to me as being the best patch in the forest. I trust his venture will be successful as a saw mill generally employs 20 to 30 men about it, one way or another. Alford Forest is remarkable for the moistness of its climate, and it frequently happens—l give this on the sworn testimony of the oldest inhabitant—that it rains there when it is sunshiny weather two miles nearer Ashburton. If the liberal favors conferred upon this district by the clerk of the weather are to be looked upon as a help towards wealth, then I should say that the dwellers in this umbrageous country ought to be doing well. But for my own part, if I were anxious to make a rapid fortune I don’t think I would endeavor to try it on in that neighborhood. Postal communication is for the future to be kept up by means of a daily mail from Methven, Mr. Tisch being the contractor for the service. It is not contemplated to employ more than a twohorse coach for the extensive correspondence the business people there receive. Mr, Alfred Harrison was at Alford Forest during my visit, and was the centre of attraction that day. being busily engaged in selling the furniture and effects of Mi\ Morgan of the hotel, and the prices realised ought to have been satisfactory to both auctioneer and seller. The sale was the means of collecting together nearly the whole population. The most absorbing topic appeared to be the adjourned annual meeting of the Mount Somers ratepayers to be held next Monday, when a lively time is expected.
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