< SOLD TO'MR F. RUDDENKLAU,
GOVERNMENT'S LOST OPPOR-
Although the Minister of. Lands took the trouble recently to deny the statement that the policy of the Government was to buy cheap land for soldiers' settlement, it cannot, be denied that as far as the Ashburton'County is concerned, any deals made so far on behalf of the soldiers have not been in first-class land, but in land of a lower grade. The first property acquired was the .Seafield'estate, which proved a big disapppintipeht, and in order that the soldiers could make a living in that locality, it was found necessary to acquire additional land. It is pleasing to note, however, that' . Government in its next deal stioired a little better judgment in Coldstreaml Within the past few weeks the Government also acquired the Wairuna Estate, of 800 acres,, near Coldstream, which ;-is heavy' liind that could be. used for dairying, and will provide farms for from eight to 10 soldiers. ; The Newpark Estate, of between 600 and 700 acres, ..part- of the original ; Longbeach Estate, nas also been acquired from Mr W. Shipley, and will probably cut up iiitoi about 11 farms. ■''■' .V, i
When the Minister, passed through Ashburton after hie southerny tour, he received a' deputation' regarding the purchase of Mr F. Ruddenklau's Estate;/: of ,1.639 acres;,at. Staveley,- -which was'offered at £16 per acre. Ifi has now been officially announced thai this farm has also been acquired,■ Vjjind^r , that price, _ and ..will soldiers 'who require... dairying Vliaiill; and the latter soldiers wili lip'doubt be suppliers to the Staveley'' Dairy 1 ;" Co.
next vseason. , . ,', i Mr F. Ituddenklau immediately,- made a deal with Mr T. Dowling for the wellknown Springfield Estate, of about 1439 acres, situated Six .miles from i Methven, and "about five fliiles, from Lyndhurst. Tlie deal camp ,as a sur- | '• prise packet, particularly to the .residents of -Methven, ' who naturally thought if it were sold at all the Government would be the buyers for the benefit of soldiers. The deal was trans-, acted through the local branch of the New Zealand Farmer* , Co-operative I Farmers' Association (ia conjunction j with Mr W. Anderson), and the price i was £35 per acre., which any farmer in the County will admit was a "nibble, 5, and it is questionable whether Mr Ttudderiklau .would resell the estate for £40 per, acre. It is hardly necessary to state that this farm, is ..recog: nised as.the pick of the County. It is the homestead block of the . original estate, owned by the late Mr Duncan Cameron; When Mr Cameron's partnership was dissolved with Mr Gould, the■ formerbought-the estate at about £8 per acre. Large blocks of it were later cut,, up, for closer setlement, and 10 years ago- Mr T. Bowling bought the homestead and 2000 acres, which he has farmed most successfully. YesWday a "Guardian" .representative visited the estate, and wap shown over it by Mr Dowling, who explained that he offeredthe land to the Govern-' ment at- the came price a"s he sold to Mr Ruddenklau,", and the-JLands Department . would not even bother to send ? a vaitier to inspect it. In addition, he offered to take 75 per cent, of the purchase money in war bonds. Mr Dowling explained to the reporter ;that he was getting up in years, otherwise the farm would not have been sold, and he was? sorry* for the soldiers' sake,, that the Government 'could not see. its way clear to accopt ,his offer. Had the Government showed-.a.willing- , ness to entertain his offer, he. would have been willing to have even sold at a few pounds less per acre. The estate is comprised of all heavy rich agricultural land, and would have cut up into farms of from 50 to 100 acres, upon which any soldier 1 could have made a living. Here was an ideal place for the group system of settlement. There is not an estate- in New Zealiand that has number of substantial l buildings,' and as these are all built of the very best timber, there was, by moving them, material to provide a .house for every solder settled on the' estate. As Mr Dowling explained, the buildings, including . the house of 32 room's, were a gift over and above the valHie of, the Land. There is also on the''estate a large woolehed and a new dip. These could have been utilised,' on; co-operative lines by the soldiers. Too much cannot be said about the quality of the land for either cropping 'of fattening,- ' and Mr Dk)wKng, as well as others, who acquired,:, part of the original estate, never knew what it was to have a bad yield. On Mr Dowling's estate it was possible, to take. off three wheat crops'in succession.' An idea of its fattening qualities ■ can be : gathered from, the fact that in' January of this vea.r Mr Dowling sent away, a line of 1800 fat wethers over 751b in weight, and weeks later -a draft of 700 over 701b. One had only to. glance at the sheep and' cattle at present,on .the estate to see how well they thrive,,,At the present time lambs are .also.being, fattened on a magnificent crop of swede turnips. To get a good crop, of this year , when so many turnip crop's have iailed in the' County, is in. itself an achievement. Although, .heavily stocked, there is at the present time an excellent growth of clover on several of the fields.
Mr Dowling's success as a, competitor in the show ring with his stud stock is ; also well known, and yesterday he showed the reporter several trophies, which included a cup for the "best twotooth Southdown ewe in the Christchurch Show for 1914, a gold medal for the best Southdown ewe in 1915, a shield for the best .twq-topth.' Lincoln ewe in 1917. and the Viewmount Cup, won three times in succession at Methveh Show for most points in sffock.' In June. 1916, Mr Bowling, held.the. record of having; topped, the market all, round at Addingtbn for fat- stock—a record which has never been beaten. While the above accomplishments reflect great credit on Mr Dowlirig, they also serve to show the value of. the estate which the Government refused to buy for soldiers, which seems proof conclusive that the Lands Department does not want Rood land, even if it can be obtained at a reasonable figure. Even as a convalescent home for soldiers, a. more desirable spot could not be found. The spacious, well-laid-out crounds would have provided an ideal locality for a soldier to recuperate his health, and would also have afforded light employment, if necessary, in keeping: the grounds in order. There is also snifficient firewood on the estate to have lasted the soldiers for years. As already stated, the house, grounds, and , -other buildings would, at the price' asked for the Tand, have been a gift to the Government, which could not even , see. s its wav clear to accept something valuable for nothing. . '. •'
If any further proof is required that
the Government is not eager for: able deals in land in the County, itf'is only necessary to refer to Mr P. Drunimond's " Clearwell" estate, which was receiftlv sold at auction at a 'higher nrice than offered to the Government, Mr Drummond also having offered to take a large portion of -the purchasemonev in war bonds.
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SPRINGFIELD ESTATE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9606, 10 May 1919
SPRINGFIELD ESTATE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9606, 10 May 1919
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