The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1880.
Oar friends on the other side are very active in the matter of setting going a trade in frozen meat, and we find that, seeing the earnestness mai ifested by the people everywhere throughout Australia, the Orient Company intend to fit up their fine steamers with apparatus for taking to England meat and other produce of Australia. Sydney contemporaries tell us that this intention of the Orient Company has been received throughout the Australian Colonies with unbounded satisfaction, and assert that no step the directors of the Company could have taken would in an equal degree have tended so to enhance the Orient’s popularity in the Southern hemisphere, or advertise the Company’s devotion to Australian interests. This is perfectly true, no doubt, and the step taken by the Orient Company directors is unquestionably one that will be as popular as it is opportune. It was announced by the Company just at a time when, in the flush of excitement over the success of the Strathle'ven experiment, and satisfied that the London meat market was open to them, the people were beginning seriously to consider how they could best make straight their path to the new field. This was a difficulty, and the Australians felt it to be so ; but the action of the Orient Company has, to a great extent at least, taken them out of that difficulty But though the enterprise, of the directors is certainly to be commended, the whole of the credit does not lie with them. Notwithstanding the success of the strathleven experiment, had there been apathy manifested on the part of the mass of Australia’s meat producers on the subject of meat exportation —had they shown no desire to profit by the experiment that demonstrated how easily the barriers of time and the sea could be broken through, and how the gates of the London market, yea the markets of every great centre of population in the world, approachable from the seaboard, could be thrown open to the entrance of Australian beef and mutton —had they appeared dead to the best interests of their commerce that were involved in the great experiment so happily crowned with success—the directors of the Orient Company Would have taken no more notice of the Strathleven experiment than would of the most unregarded event of every day life. But the Australian farmers were in a commotion of earnestness ; and seeing that the men who were most to be benefitted by the movement were anxious to reap those benefits, and meant genuine business, the Orient Company were prepared to meet them, and share in the benefits. Hence their readiness to find a means of conveying the meat. The movement of the company shows that they have faith in the future of the trade the Strathleven has pioneered so successfully, else they would never have made preparations to meet it : it shows, too, as we have said, that the Australian farmers are ready to take advantage of the means, for without some assurance that the producers were so ready the Orient Company would never have moved in the matter. Now, in this excitement on the other side, this striking the iron while its hot, is there no lesson to New Zealand 1 Is all our enterprise crushed out of us by the weight of two bad harvests in succession, and a third following that was sold at low prices ? Has the Strathleven experiment now meaning for us ? Is it no more than a good thing that has happened to our neighbors on the other side, but a good thing that is beyond our reach and can bring us no benefit 1 Does it open no department of commerce for New Zealand ? Must she, with her wide acres of land, depend only on the labors, of the ploughman for her wealth, and ignore the possibility that the Australians are fast raakinga hardfactof ? We trow not. Surely (he time has come, after the experieno; of the past few years, when beef and mutton should take the place of scraggy crops that will scarcely pay the reaper, and when the farmer should raise flesh that he can sell at 6d. a pound instead of oats that represent a value of Is. a bushel — sufficient to pay for a “shout” for himself and crony. We think it is time that some steps be taken for the formation of a Frozen Meat Export Company, and that meantime farmers turn their attention more than they have of yore to stocking and less to cropping. The reproach of dryness will soon be removed from these plains, thanks to the County Council, and the way to success appears to us to be plain, were united action in the matter taken. But while no steps are taken to concentrate the farmers upon one purpose in the direction of profiting by the London meat market, of course nothing will be accomplished. The loss of Ll 5 on the Strathleven venture was sneered at by many as pointing to a failure, but it is as well that the full fact of the matter should be known, and with this view we place before our readers the following in regard to the experiment. The Strathleven’s shipment consisted of 36,4581bs weight of beef and 19,6301b5. weight of mutton. The prices realised from lOd. per lb. down to (for a small damaged lot) 2|d. lb.; but the averages were s|d. for mutton and sd. for beef. Allowing for a largo quantity used on the voyage for testing the condition of the meat —and the anxiety of those on board on this score can be easily forgiven—and allowing also for 25 sheep, and nearly l,ooolbs of beef given away as presents in London as a sort of opening advertisement, it was found on arrival that the shrinkage on the 19,G351b5. of mutton amounted on the voyage to 4191b5., and on the 36.4551b5. of beef, to J,0761b5., or nearly 2h per cent. The experiment being only an experiment, and everything having to be found without any previous experience, a deficiency of £ls 17s. 3d. can easily be put down as exchangable in the return of an established trade for a sweeping profit.
Our telegrams from Melbourne this morning announce the capture of one of perhaps tho most determined gangs of bushrangers that have over defied law in the Southern hemisphere. For months a heavy price has bean on the heads of the Kelly’s, but so cleverly were they able to elude police vigilance, that for a considerable time it was thought the desperadoes had escaped to America, and all hope of bringing them to justice in the Australian Colonies had about expired. They had not escaped, however, and a few days ago a short telegram announced that the police wore again on their track. Little attention was paid to tho telegram, as tho Kelly’s had so often given the police the slip, people had become very sceptical of any chances existing of the outlaws being run in. Yesterday morning, however, we were surprised to find in the daily papers a telegram stating that the long-lost Kellys had again been found and that another murder had bean added to their crimes, while the}' had succeeded in keeping a force of police prisoners for twelve hours. It was the unexpectedness ■of tho news that caused the surprise, and not the intelligence itself, for wo have learned to respect the daring of these terrible men as well as their adroitness. .Later telegrams, however, show that with all their pluck and daring they have been run to earth. Ned Kelly, tho leading spirit of their number, is wounded and a prisoner, while the others appear to be only firing out their ammunition, when apprehension must follow if they clonot die in the struggle, or rob the hangman of his fee by suicide. Byrne is reported to bo dead also, so that only Dan Kelly and Hart remained, at the date of our last telegram, able to fight. Not the least peculiar part of the intelligence is that which tells us that the outlaws have been fighting clad in chain armor to protect them from the shots. It is not, however, to chain armor that the Kellys owe the immunity from capture that they have so long enjoyed, but to the aid they have received from the people living in the districts they haunted. So great a reward was offered for their apprehension and so strong a force of police was on their track, that only for the system of brigandage that existed in the country that sheltered they must long ago have felt the grip of of the law upon them. But the gloomiest night must end in dawn, and so the Kellys have met their fate, and one of the darkest clouds of crime that ever hung over the happiness of a district, and baffled and paralysed the energies of the police, has been dispelled.