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The Small Farm Association.


'By our Travelling Reporter.) Of the tlireo blocks taken up by Wanganui, Feilding, aud Palmerston under the regulations introduced by the late Minister of Lands for the formation of Small Farm Associations, that selected by the Palmers ton Association, who fixed upon a portion of the Waitapu Block, at the hoad of the Kiwitca, is the most accessible. Situated about 16 miles from Feilding, tbo block is reached by a perfectly level and well-formed road that runa through the centre of tho Kiwitea district. Tho township is placed immediately on tho edge of tho block, and it is somewhat difficult to discover what wero tho reasons that impelled tho committeo or whoever they were to chooso such a site. The possible explanation is that tliero would be a good road to it sooner than in ense the township was fixed higher up, whero a more Buitoble situation in all respects could easily have been choson. There are about 11,000 aere3 altogether in'the block. which extends on one side to the bank of the Oroua Biver and on tho other to the Kiwitea stream. Tho whole of the land is of very good quality, but broken in parts. There are some splendid flats, however, on both boundaries and the land that abuts on the main road which has the aj'pearaneo of being the most broken improves as it goes back a little. Since tho settlement v>as established some good work has been done in falling and bringing the land into cultivation, and out of about 70 or 80 members who have nn interest in the block 35 or 40 are now on the ground. And thero would have been more had the Government shown a disposition to meet the ju3t and reasonable demands tho settlers have put forward. Thero is an unmistakably strong feeling against tho party now in power, and tho idea is pretty gonoral that the Government ha\e very little sympathy for the Small Fawn Associations. The road has been metalled through, a portion of tho block, but work has now ceased, and with very little probability of it being started again for sometime. Inthointorests of settlement, it is most important that this road should be pushed on with tho greatest possible vigor until there is a good road at least as far as the Wanganui block at Pemborton, 12 or 14 miles furthor on. At tho present time all the Pembcrton settlers have to unload at Eichardson's, in the Birmingham blook, and pack tho rest of the way. Another reason why tho road should be pushed on is that all tho lund botweon tho two blocks is open for soleotion under tho various systems of cash, dofcrred payment, and lcaso, and some of the eoetions have beon takon up, but nothing like Hie number that would lwtc beon disposed of had the road been made. Application after application lias also been made to the ftovornment for the retiu'n of tho thirds for opening up bush tracks to tho back sections, but tho result 60 far lias been absolutely nil. These settlera have mado threo payments, but not a ponny has yet been returned 1o help them to mako a way to tho back blocks, aud it is difficult to estimato to oitonfc settlement has been hindered through this cause. As tho applications for the return of tho money havo beon without result, the settlers %\ ould bo acting on their own interests by adopting a " plan of campaign." Another instalment js now due, and tho monibors of tho Assqeintjon should pivy it all into one fund, remit to tho Government T\hat thoy are actually ontitled to and keep tho rest for expenditure on the tracks. This course is not original, and the Association w ould havo a precedent for their notion as tho Simdon Association, I believe, proceeded in a somowhat similar plan on tho recommendation of Mr J. C 5-. Wilson, M.R.E. At anyrato if tho Government wish (o dispel the spirit of antagonism that they arc crqditod'of entertaining towards the Small Faun Assacifttipns thoy should show a disposition tq assist these pioneer soltlors who, with tho drawbacks montioued, avo giving cvory indication of making comfortablo and prosperous homes for themselvos, and, at tho same time, materially adding to tho wealth of the colony. It should be remembered that the settlers are not asking for assistance, but for the return of their own money which the regulations expressly stipulate shall bo given back to assist in forming roads into tho interior of the blocks. The main road is a public work and tho expenditure upon it would be justified many times over by fl^o setHempnt that would foljow }n its course. ' Fifteen months ago tho Birmingham Block was all standing bush and to-day thero arc clearings in every direction. Those) who havo sections felled or partly felled are highly satisfied with the quality of their holdings, and a very few years will witness a great transformation in this district which it requires little prescience to foretell will not long hence be dqttcd u]\ o\ot with woll-tq-dq and prosperous setters. Fiftcon months ago tho road formed within the Block was impiisssiblo, but to-day there i? a well-found and comfortable h'ostfta kept, by Mr Lowes lato of. Uw Oorgo, standing on a sitp that «iis so recently occupied by stoliding bush. The educational requirements of the young are not to l>9 overlooked, and v, scliool site has beon, a{rou,dy {alien and is bpiug oliia^d for the, erqetiem of iv suitable building. X sto^e "Hs also bqan established, by Mr Fowler, anc| a bi-woekly mail servipp tp Ifojlding is \n wstflnpo. 4s rogi\yds, th,e adjniin'styatiqn of tho funds for voad. making, ono proposal that has been tuiggpslud is that tho Bprnberton, Feilding, and Birmingham Associations should amalgamate and form thomsolvos into ono Board, A divided administration is always *%._ sivo, and on the .ground ■„$ economy tho proposal \i worthy o f consideration, but whether it is feasable is another matter when wo consider that the Blocks aro widely apart.

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The Small Farm Association. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 6497, 27 April 1888

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