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Communal Settlements Part 2


All goes well for a time.

Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), Saturday 24 March 1894, page 538

Co-operative Settlement.

Settlement on the land is the universally admitted way out of the tight place in which the colonies have lately found themselves. Yet even at this early stage , experience shows, that if the way is to prove better than a blind alley it must be wisely mapped out. Co-operative settlement is for the present one of the favourite methods of taking possession of the land. Whether it will remain a favourite method depends on its proved adaptability to the character and wants of Australians.

What are the factors which go to make a successful co-operative settlement ? They are mainly three : accessibility of site, productiveness of soil, devotedness of settlers. ln the beginning of the month ten groups had been recognised under the Co-operative Communities Land Settlement Act of last year. How were they situated in regard to the two first or material factors of success ? Generally it may be said that the settlers more fortunate as to soil have to contend with the disadvantage of distance, and that the settlers more fortunate as to distance have to contend with disadvantages of soil. The Reliance settlement is at Rolleston, two hundred miles out from Roma, and has been reached sometimes from Roma and sometimes from Springsure. Whatever the soil on such a site, it is rightly said that it will require a long pull and a strong pull to ensure success. Nil Desperandum, Obertown Model, Excel Pioneers, are three groups at Rockybank on the Yalebone Creek, a considerable distance beyond Roma. The soil is said to be good and well-watered, but the difficulty of access is a heavy drawback. A number of  groups, the Monmouth, the Industrial, the Mizpah (Salvationist), have selected land at Chinchilla in the neighbourhood of Dalby. These communities, though still some distance from Brisbane, have the advantage of railway connection. But the suitableness of the land is questioned.

The Railway Commissioners in a descriptive map have marked the district as suitable for wheat growing. Major Jefferies of the Salvation Army speaks well of the ground, "taking it all through." On the other hand, a Chinchilla correspondent has deplored that time and labour should be devoted to land so unworthy of it, asserting that the soil is unfruitful and unsuited for general agricultural purposes.

The Woolloongabba Exemplars, the settlement nearest to Brisbane, is a more certain example of unwise selection. Even the earlier notices of this Lake Weyba colony, informed us that the settlers were ignorant of the nature of the land, and did not know what industry they were going to start. They thought the land good, but were less concerned on that head as they had the alternative of fishing. Two Laidley farmers, members of the group, described as experienced and sensible men, have returned to say that out of some 2000 acres of timbered scrub about a hundred might be ploughed, and that the remaining 7000 acres of the selection, the township site exempted, are "entirely and utterly useless."

The very serious state of matters thus disclosed accentuates the urgency of our demand that the Government should no longer delay the effort to recover for the public good the vast stretches of splendid and not too distant land alienated to private proprietors who only hold for a rise. No one can travel on our inland lines of railway without having forced on him the scandal and the folly of an arrangement which forces bona fide settlers to wretched scrub land or to the inaccessible interior, while rolling downs of grassy wealth within easy reach are locked up from utilisation.

Facts such as we have noted force the conclusion that if the Land Settlement Act of last year is to serve its purpose in the practical salvation of the colony it must be followed without further delay by another providing for the wholesale resumption of land. There remains, however, a further side to the question of success —the moral side—of which the Government can take no notice beyond its lowest aspects. The State may insist that only men of legally unblemished character shall be eligible as members of a group. It might even insist on evidence of sober and industrious habits. But the deeper and subtler moral elements of success are beyond its control. It cannot secure the spirit of comradeship. It cannot inspire the passion of self-sacrifice for the general good. It cannot create the bond of a common faith and devotion which experience has shown to be a mighty factor of successful colonisation.

It was this that General Booth pressed on us in seeking an outlet for his rescued and reformed proteges. We were slow to believe it at the time; it is being forced upon us now. Interviewed with regard to the phenomenal prosperity attending the Labour Colony of the Salvation Army in Victoria, Mr. Parry-Okeden declared himself quite convinced that the distinctly religious tone pervading the farm was the secret of its success. The same fact comes out in the report of the Mizpah group at Chinchilla appearing in this issue.

The land there may not be of the best; and the Salvation Army group have suffered at least as severely as the others. When Major Jefferies visited the settlers, they had but a week's rations to depend on, and that at the rate of 1s. 7d. per week for each individual. They have felt compelled to make application to the Government for the balance of the £20 subsidy permitted by the Act. Yet there is no idleness and no discontent. The men have worked hard and regularly, with the result that— already, about three months after the settlement took place, five acres have been planted with corn, and six with potatoes, in addition to which each man has started a little garden, and is gradually improving it. There is also a mile of fencing—post and rail —completed, and 32 chains of sapling fence. There are also six wooden buildings erected as dwelling-houses, and two stores, a bootmaker's shop, a little committee-room, butcher's shop, fenced-in stockyard, and blacksmith's shop, as well as twelve acres grubbed and cleared.

The women and children are in the full sense of the phrase settled down to their new life. And notwithstanding the hard work and the present pinch all are cheerfully hopeful of success, and the best of feeling prevails among the members. What is the explanation ? The religious bond has kept out the drink, has strengthened the spirit of comradeship, has secured ready obedience to the controlling committee, and has in fact done for Mizpah all that Mr. Parry-Okeden saw it doing for Pakenham.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Monday 26 March 1894, page 2



(Abridged from the Queensland Times of Saturday.)

Yesterday, Mr Daniel Williams, secretary of the Monmouth Group, which was formed in this town, and the members of which have been on their area at Chinchilla for the past six or seven weeks, was in Ipswich, and a representative of this journal interviewed him. Mr. Williams stated that the members of the group were getting on fairly well, all things considered. Owing to the area not having been wholly surveyed when they arrived, they had had to shift their quarters from the original position to the present permanent site. That, he said, had taken up a good deal of time.

They had placed a temporary fence around fifty acres of land, and the township would be in the centre of this. They had planted a ton and a half of seed potatoes, as well as four acres of oats. 'There was not much clearing necessary, and the trees in the area of fifty acres had been ringbarked previous to occupation. The fencing stuff for the permanent line is being got ready, the material consisting of split rails and posts. If the group had the necessary horses and implements, they could put in 300 acres of stuff almost immediately.

Temporary houses were at present being put up, these consisting of posts with bark for roofs. The members intend to split their own slabs for their houses after knocking off work, so that all available time may be spent for the benefit of the whole group.

The settlers and their families appear to be happy and contented, and beyond a few colds there is no sickness amongst them A blacksmith's shop of moderate dimensions has been erected, and a substantial store has been nearly completed. The rations are being dealt out economically to the members of the group. As an instance, the meat served out to each member only amounts to an average value of 11d. per week, and out of that the wives and children -- there are seventy wives and children--are provided for.

The group has been very fortunate with its livestock. One cow calved the day after arrival, while six of the others have calved since, so that the cattle have increased nearly 50 per cent during the six or seven weeks that they had been on the area. The horses are all right, considering the feed they get. No corn is given them, they having to live on what they pick up. The blacksmith's shop is doing a good business, being kept constantly going in completing orders received from outside people.

"What is your opinion as regards the future prospect of the group ?" asked the reporter.

"Well," said Mr. Williams, "it is the opinion of all those in the vicinity of Chinchilla that it would be a very lamentable thing if the full assistance as provided in the Act were not forthcoming should it be required. We have only drawn £12 per member, whereas the Act allows us to go to the extent of £20. Everything is going on satisfactorily so far. There is no immediate need for the full amount of money allowed by the Act, but we could extend our operations if it were available. We have been sadly handicapped by getting on the area so late--too late to plant maize both for sale and our own consumption -- in fact, we are at considerable risk with the potatoes we have now in. If we can arrange matters so as to get more horses, we intend to plant those 300 acres that I told you about with wheat. Mr. J. T. Bell, M L.A. for Dalby, has promised us three horses, but they have not arrived yet."

"What sort of land does the area belonging to the group consist of ?"

"It is splendid land,” went on Mr. Williams, " and the men appear well satisfied with the nature of the soil. The area is the summer camping ground for the cattle from the adjacent runs.  In the morning sometimes we have to turn thousands of cattle off the area. That must therefore show that it is good country -- indeed the grass is knee deep. The soil is of red loam, and is very easily worked."


Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), Saturday 7 April 1894, page 649

The Mizpah Group.

When Major Jefferies, of the Salvation Army, paid his recent visit to the Mizpah settlement, near Chinchilla, an interesting description of which was given in our last issue, he was accompanied by Staff-captain Pearce, who is an expert photographer, with the view of securing pictures that would show the world the progress made by the group since the ground was first occupied three months before. Staff-captain Pearce succeeded admirably in his object, and has courteously supplied us with copies of his photographs, from which the  sketches published this week were drawn. It speaks well for the captain's skill that of ten exposures made in the camera the whole number turned out excellent negatives. The picture of the group which occupies the top of this page was especially good, proof of which is furnished by the fact that our block was produced by direct enlargement from a cabinet-sized print. This photograph shows the whole of the members of the Mizpah group —men, women, and children—to the number of 156, gathered in front of the large new store that is being built at the settlement.

The other photograph on this page represents the working committee, whose title is quite justified by their appearance. The committee consists of eight members, of whom Mr. Thomas Budgen is foreman and Mr. Thomas Fallows is secretary. The committee decide upon the works to be undertaken and the foreman sees that they are properly carried out.

The small sketches appearing on the following page give unmistakable evidence of the energy of the group. The primitive dwelling of the Mizpah settler, composed of a calico tent of the "colonial" pattern, a dining hall of extremely rustic appearance, and a still more rustic-looking cooking kitchen or galley, is gradually being replaced by comparative luxurious buildings such as that figured in the second sketch.

One of these houses, containing two rooms, is built by the community for each family, and the head of the family is supposed to make what additions he deems necessary in his spare time.

The store, which was the first substantial building erected on the land, is built of slabs and galvanised iron and shingles. The need for haste in putting up a place where stores could be held secure from damage by rain and sun prevented this edifice being finished off as tastefully as might be desired, but the carpenters of the community are busily engaged on a more substantial building, the framework of which is to be seen near to the old store, and which is probably now approaching completion.

Other sketches show the settlers at work ploughing and tank sinking, and another is a view of the stockyards that have been hastily run up to provide a place for milking the cows and paddocking the horses.

These pictures show that the community has not been idle during its four months of practical existence. The spirit of the pioneer is strong in Mizpah, and to the preponderance of members of the Salvation Army in the community much of the success that has been achieved is undoubtedly due.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Saturday 14 April 1894, page 2

Mizpah Group.

Further Assistance.

The Mizpah Co-operative Group, Chinchilla, is to be granted further monetary assistance by the Government. The Obertown Model Group has also applied for assistance, and the request is being reported on. The Government do not consider themselves committed to give assistance to groups over and above the £12 at first decided upon ; each case will be decided on its own merits. The Minister for Lands has received from Commissioner Coombs, of the Salvation Army, a framed set of photographs' of the Mizpah settlement. The pictures were taken by Major Jeffries,  and represent the buildings at the settlement and the members engaged at ploughing, dam-making, and other work.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Saturday 21 April 1894, page 4

The Toombul Workers' Political Association met at the Albion on Thursday evening last, when there was an unusually large attendance. After disposing of the ordinary business of the evening the president announced that, as some of their number were about taking their departure to join the Industrial Settlement Group at Warra, he had been deputed on behalf of the members to present their departing friends with a joint address expressing the thanks of the organisation for past services, and the esteem in which they were held. Speeches were delivered by Messrs. R. King, M.L.A., D. Bowman (president of the General Council A.L.F.), A. Hinchcliffe, and others, all of whom paid a high tribute of respect to the promoters of the Industrial group, particularly to those members who were about to sever their connection with the local association. All present joined in the hope that the settlement would prove a success. Members of the " Industrial" having responded the remainder of the evening was spent in conviviality.



Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Wednesday 25 April 1894, page 5

Chinchilla Settlers. Tobacco-growing Proposed.

Mr. H. Daniels, M.L.A., who recently visited the settlements of the Mizpah and Monmouth Co-operative Groups, near Chinchilla, states that the settlers propose to enter upon the cultivation of tobacco.  The land has proved to be unsuitable for some crops, but good tobacco is being grown by Chinese in the vicinity,


Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Qld. : 1875 - 1948), Saturday 28 April 1894, page 2

Mr. H. Daniels, M.L.A., has just returned from the west, where (says the Toowoomba Chronicle of the 24th instant) he has been visiting the two communal settlements near Chinchilla. . He is of the opinion that the land is very poor, and that belonging to  the group under the auspices of the Salvation Army is half smothered with prickly pear. They have 20 acres under cultivation. Eight acres were placed under potatoes, but the crop was a failure, the soil being too hot and sandy for growing them. Corn has also been tried without success, but the oats, of which there are 11 acres, are doing fairly well.


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Tuesday 15 May 1894, page 5

CO-OPERATORS AT CHINCHILLA. Being in the vicinity of Jondaryan last week, Mr. Peter McLean, Under-Secretary for Agriculture, availed himself of the opportunity (writes our Brisbane correspondent last night) of inspecting the Mizpah and Monmouth groups of co-operators.

The Mizpah Group, Mr. McLean says, have their township on a high, dry, and pleasant sandy ridge, and their cultivation paddocks, consisting of twenty acres, are some distance away. Six acres of this is under potatoes, six acres under oats, and the balance under grass. The seed potatoes not being first-class, there were a good many misses in the field; but otherwise the crop looks remarkably well, and if it escapes frosts for three weeks longer the co-operators will get a good return. About ten acres will be seeded to wheat this week.

Houses for the settlers are rapidly being erected, and the people themselves appear to be happy, contented, and determined to make a success of the settlement.

The Monmouth Group. who are located on the opposite side of Charley's Creek, have about three acres under potatoes looking remarkably well, and giving promise of a large crop if frosts are escaped. They have also about three acres under oats, and intend putting in about thirty acres of wheat within the next few weeks. They are also getting their houses built, and, so far as Mr. M'Lean could see, the people are contented and everything was going on satisfactorily.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Monday 21 May 1894, page 4


A correspondent, writing from Roma on the 18th instant, says:-The Rev. A. Horan, of Ipswich, spent the last four days in Chinchilla among the co-operative groups. Ho was astonished at the improvements already made by the Monmouth and Mizpah Groups, and believes firmly in their success, and pronounces the scheme a solution of the unemployed difficulty. He conducted mass at the Monmouth settlement yesterday, all the Roman Catholics attending communion. The group proclaimed the day a public holiday, and gave a grand banquet, the viands--such as poultry, butter, and vegetables--being the group's production.

The adjoining selectors told Father Horan that the Monmouth Group's land is excellent, and the best in the Chinchilla district. Some of those selectors have been nine years farming in the district, and have raised splendid crops of potatoes, maize, sweet potatoes, turnips, cabbages, etc. Father Horan, replying to a vote of thanks proposed to him at a concert given by the children, said that in his opinion co-operative land settlement was a good way of solving the unemployed difficulty. There has been no sickness. Three births have taken place. All the settlers have improved in physique. Father Horan promised to make known the facts which had come under his notice, and do what he could to induce the formation of other groups. On Father Horan leaving the settlement the members cheered loudly, and sang "St. Patrick's Day" and "Auld Lang Syne," and agreed to name the main street after him.

The Monmouth Group have already erected twenty humpies, and six others are in course of erection, while nine more will be undertaken almost immediately. There is also a large store and a blacksmith's shop. A good patch of potatoes has been raised, and a large area of land has been made ready for sowing and planting.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Wednesday 6 June 1894, page 4

Opinion of Father A. Horan.

Tho Rev. Father A. Horan, of Ipswich,  having returned to Ipswich the other day from a visit to the co-operative groups at Chinchilla, a representative of the Queensland Times asked him.

What is the quality of the land ?

I will give no opinion of my own upon the subject, but will tell you what those who ought  to know think. The farmers that have been settled round about for some nine months or so say that it is excellent. The members of the group themselves are unanimous in pronouncing it first-class.

A testimony of one member — who has had nearly half a century of agricultural experience, 10 years of the time in this colony— was that he had never seen better land. It is very easily worked. Two horses are able to break up the virgin soil, and it is must be remembered that in some places in West Moreton it takes a team of bullocks to do that. All the crops that have been put in are growing splendidly. The settlers say that the land is now honestly worth £1 an acre.

The area is well watered by Charley's Creek, which was never known to be dry. Water can also be found by sinking. It is better than some land that was sold by the Government at Yeulba, about a week ago, for that price. All the old settlers about the place are very jealous because the Government gave the best of the land to the groups.

If the settlers pull together, their success is certain. The Chinchilla groupists have set about making a living for themselves. The wheat the Monmouth men have sown is of the early spring and mummy (sic) varieties. The former they will sell, while the latter they intend to grind into flour for themselves.  I can inform their friends in Ipswich and elsewhere that  they are in good health, and have entered into the spirit of self-reliant work. They have improved in appearance, and the children especially are looking splendid.

In further conversation, the Rev. A. Horan said he highly  approved of the communal scheme of land settlement, and thought that it could be  made a solution of the labour difficulty. He thinks, however, that experience will naturally show that the present Act may be amended with advantage.   Without going into details, such amendments, he considers, should take the form of larger areas for the groups, and the charging of a smaller amount per acre for the ultimate acquisition of the land by the settlors. After all the conditions have been fulfilled on the area set apart, he considers that the settlers should be free to select a homestead anywhere that they might like within the colony. When they got the deeds of the group area, they might be allowed to sell it if they chose to do so, and take up a selection under ordinary conditions. That would be an incentive for them to pull together, and, with the experience that they would get in co-operation with others, they would individually be  better prepared to work land of their own.

It was suggested to him,  by some of the squatters, that the land which is badly infested by prickly-pear trees should be given to those who would clear it, on condition that they paid for the deed and the expense of survey. The objection to   this State-aided form of agricultural competition, however, is already making itself apparent. Many farmers in the vicinity of the groups are already crying out , against the Government for giving assistance to others to compete against them in the markets.


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Thursday 7 June 1894, page 6


The Government have decided that further financial assistances to the amount of £200 each shall be granted to five co-operative groups --the Mizpah, at Chinchilla; the Nil Desperandum, Obertown Model, and Excel Pioneers, near Roma, and the Byrnestown, Gayndah district. The amounts first voted for these groups were as follow:-Mizpah, £420: Nil Desperandum. £420: Obertown Model, £520: Excel Pioneers, £520; and Byrnestown, £408.

There are now eleven groups, representing 450 adult males, on the land. The amount already voted for their assistance, including the above five increases, is £6325. Of this amount £5442 has been expended. Some of the five groups just mentioned have already trenched upon the additional votes, and four others will soon be in need of more money. The second votes are to be spent in the purchase of rations only. The Department of Agriculture have a scale of rations--a very liberal one, by the way, for pioneer settlers--which covers articles which the groups are permitted to buy. The groups forward to the department periodically a list of their requirements, with the names if the firms which they desire shall supply the goods. The department, after seeing that the requisition is in order, take steps to have it attended to.

It may be mentioned that the Protestant Unity Group, who are to settle in the parish of Tuchekoi  on the North Coast Railway, will shortly be gazetted.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Tuesday 10 July 1894, page 2

Inspection by Professor Shelton.

The Government instructor in agriculture, Professor Shelton, left Brisbane on Friday for the purpose of visiting the settlements of the co-operative groups at  Chinchilla and Warra, on the Western Railway line .


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Tuesday 10 July 1894, page 2

Village Settlements. : Mizpah and Monmouth. Parliamentary Visitors.

Information about the progress of the experiment now being made in Queensland as well as elsewhere in the way of village settlements is  always of interest, and knowing that Mr. J. G. Drake, M.L.A., had just returned from a visit to the two settlements in the Dalby district, a Telegraph reporter waited on him this morning to obtain from him an expression of his opinion and a statement of the facts in regard, more particularly, to the Mizpah settlement, near Chinchilla. Mr. Drake was full of the subject, and spoke freely. He said:

As I had taken a prominent part for many years in advocating assisted village settlement, and as the members of the first group— the Mizpah —were all from my own constituency, I was naturally desirous of seeing how they were getting on before parliamentary duties prevented me from getting away from Brisbane. I therefore made arrangements with Mr. J. T. Bell, M.L.A., in whose electorate the group is settled, and who has taken a warm interest in their welfare, to go with him and pay them a visit. The visit was a flying one, because I found it impossible to get away before last Friday, and I was compelled to return on Saturday, because I was billed to address my constituents tonight.

On entering the train I was agreeably surprised to find myself in the company of Professor Shelton, who was starting also to visit the group with us and give the members of the community the benefit of his knowledge and experience. At Macalister Mr. Bell came on board the train, and with him Mr. J. J. Kingsbury, M.L.A. for Brisbane North ; and we reached Chinchilla at 2 a.m. It was awfully cold ; I could feel the ice under my hand on the handrail of the steps from the platform. The host of the hotel, Mr. Hogg— by no means a half-loaf man — was ready for us, gave us comfortable beds, a good breakfast a little later on in the morning, and horses to take us out to the settlement, which is about two miles distant.

I think the Mizpah group knew we were coming, as the secretary and the foreman of works were apparently waiting to receive us. 1 was very much pleased with the progress that has been made ; and also with the mode of settlement and cultivation. From the information furnished by them, and my own observation, I found that they have fenced the whole of their land — 4,000 acres — and subdivided it so that the total amount of fencing done represents about nine miles ; built a number of comfortable cottages for the members (some are still under canvas), and a store.

Forty acres have been cleared, with the exception of some of the biggest trees. Of that area 30 acres have been under crop, and eight acres are now ready ploughed for tobacco. I was glad to hear the professor express a high opinion of the work manlike manner in which the ploughing had been done.

They have already met with some disappointments. For instance, the crop of potatoes from seed supplied by the department, and planted too late in the season, was almost a complete failure. The quick eye of the professor told him that the spring crop of wheat had been nibbled by bandicoots, and the foreman of works immediately determined to run a paling fence around without delay. Some of their fruit trees were showing signs of having been nipped by frost, and on the suggestion of the professor, it was decided at once to cover them with branches of trees. Professor Shelton is staying with them for a couple of days, and he will no doubt he able to put them in the way of avoiding any recurrence of these elementary troubles.

I could not help thinking that it was rather a pity a competent instructor from the Agricultural Department had not  been sent to the group in the first instance, instead of leaving them to get along the best way they could for six or seven months. In the scheme of settlement which was advocated in 1887, which is appendix K in the Select Committee's report, it is suggested that men with experience in bush settlement should be selected to give advice to the groups during the first year of their corporate existence. In traveling through the southern colonies, and making inquiries with regard to the various schemes of assisted land settlement being tried by their respective Governments, two things forcibly came under my notice. The first was that one colony knows nothing about what another colony is doing in the matter,  and, secondly, that all the colonies are independently and unconsciously getting into line, and exactly on the lines advocated in appendix K. In nearly every instance where our Queensland Village Communities Act differs from the scheme in appendix K, it in my opinion goes wrong. I believe that appendix K, the handiwork of the late Mr. Carl A. Feilberg, will yet occupy a prominent place in Queensland history.

Do you think the group up there will be a success?

 Assuredly. The scheme is in accordance with the spirit of the times, and the group is working out a great experiment in collectivism. It is exhibiting all the good qualities which their friends claimed for them and which the enemies of tbe system despaired of  finding in any group of men.

Do they agree well together?

Yes. They are associated together on good principles, with an underlying basis of religion, and they are now as united as they were when they first went on their land. The little difficulties they have encountered so far seem to have had the effect of uniting them more closely rather than separating them. They are, in my opinion, doing a greater work than they even know of themselves. They are showing what can be done when men throw their whole heart and soul into their daily toil.

I saw on Saturday what l do not often see; men working with an evident sense of enjoyment. They worked as if they liked work. Three of them were working at brickmaking. They have found by careful calculation that the expense of building with timber in the absence of a  saw mill in greater by one-third than would be the expanse of building with brick, and they are now as busy as possible at their brickmaking.

Making bricks on an agricultural settlement does not sound very well.

Whether or no they are doing it, and they are showing so much pluck that if they cannot grow anything upon their selection, they will turn it into a brick yard. I must say, however, that the men expressed themselves well satisfied with the land they have, und I have no reason to doubt that there is very good land within the settlement.

What are they doing in the way of making a living for themselves ?

They are taking occasional contracts outside, and at the present time there are nine men working outside at fencing. I think it is rather to be regretted that they are compelled to go outside for work, because I think eventually their labour would be more profitably employed if expended upon their own settlement ; but their means' are of  course very limited,  and it is necessary for them to earn what money they can outside to keep things going. They have just received an acquisition in the shape of a practical shoemaker, quite a young follow, who went from Gympie to join the group. He has a little shoemaker's shop fitted up, and is full of work, repairing boots for the group and also executing orders from Chinchilla.

You seem to have  a good opinion of the men.

I am sure they are good men. They are honest, hard-working , earnest, religious men ; and they all came from Enoggora, which in itself is a certificate of character.

Did. you visit the Monmouth Group, which is close by?

Yes, I went, to the Monmouth group ; but I do not think they were expecting us, and so we saw  only a few members of the group, who were very kind in taking us round and showing us the work they had been doing. I noticed there, a good deal of artistic taste of an elementary nature in the cultivation of small gardens, which in this as in the other groups, are attached to each separate  cottage. The extent of land for each man of the group, I may say, is a quarter  of an acre, which the member cultivates and embellishes   according to his own taste.

I saw  at this settlement, a cultivator just turned out finished, which would not have disgraced any agricultural implement maker in Brisbane; and there was also   a  four-wheeled waggon in course  of construction. " The happiest days I ever  spent in my  life,'' said the wheelwright. “Do you think that is the  feeling of  the men generally?” one of our party inquired. “Yes,” he said, “with the exception of a few men who are a little town-sick, but they will get over that.”

Are the members of these groups healthy?

Yes, I think so. There was no sickness at either of the groups. At Mizpah there are 34 families mounting up to 160 souls, showing that they are doing  their duty  to their country. At the present  time the children go to school at Chinchilla, but they hope almost immediately to have a school of their own on the settlement.

 I could not help drawing a mental comparison between these happy, industrious people, so full of hope and buoyant Spirits, with the lot of a corresponding number of families living here in Brisbane, working in the Botanic Gardens one day for a week's rations, and for the remaining six living miserably in their homes, wearing out their lives in shapeless idleness. I very much hope that the Government will see their way to extend the same facilities to those who are at present imprisoned in the towns and enable them to get  away  on to the land.  They desire it.   It  is better and more healthful to them, and under proper instruction they would become a help instead of  a burden to the community. I think that a  good start has been made, and it would be almost criminal to put any obstacles in the way, or even to refuse generous assistance to the men, who are giving their lives and energy to the task of making the experiment a success.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Thursday 12 July 1894, page 5

Co-operative Groups.

Mizpah and Monmouth. Visit of Professor Shelton.

The Government Instructor in Agriculture returned to Brisbane yesterday from the west, where he visited the settlements of the Mizpah and Monmouth co-operative groups near Chinchilla. Speaking to a Telegraph representative, Professor Shelton said :

I spent portion of three days with the settlers, in the course of which time I had an opportunity of inspecting their work pretty thoroughly, as well as of seeing what the people were made of, and of getting some idea  of their hopes and fears. It certainly is true of both groups that they have done good work, to put it mildly, and for the time of their stay, considering their means, the improvements must seem to be of a very substantial character.

The Mizpah Group has been there some two months longer than the Monmouth, and of course have had an advantage in that respect,   as  well as in point of numbers. The Mizpah people have planted about 20 acres of  wheat, besides a lot of  oats and a smaller quantity of garden stuff. They have 7 acres of land stumped, ploughed, und substantially fenced, which is now in a condition to receive a crop of tobacco,  which they expect to plant in due season. 

 Their  wheat ground has been only partially cleared, the larger trees being ringbarked and left standing for various reasons. This seems to me to be a wise and economical move on their part, considering their circumstances and surroundings. Quite a number  of  fruit trees have been planted, and a  large field  is now in preparation for grapes and other fruits, and it is intended, as soon as the Department of Agriculture gets the vines from  South Australia, to  plant several acres with raisin grapes; an experiment which  the character of the soil of the settlement and of the climate of the district considered, must be accounted a most hopeful one.

As Mr. Drake has pointed out, brick making has lately been added to the industries of the settlement with every show of success. The clay found there seems to be of a really good quality, and well suited to the purpose for which it is being used. A  market for bricks the whole length of the railway line appears to be assured. I was pleased by the unanimity of the feeling shown by these people. So far as I could make out there is no halting or   hesitating, and no homesickness among them. At nights, however, all their bark humpies and canvas tents are very cold, as one member complained to me.

The Monmouth people are located about a mile from the Mizpah settlement, Charley's Creek being the dividing line. The Monmouth Group has about 27 acres of wheat, which, though sown late, looks very well indeed. The members are now hard at work preparing a large area of land for planting in the spring with potatoes, maize, tobacco, and other crops.

In considering these communities it must be remembered that a large number of their members are engaged in work for squatters and others outside of the settlements. The money thus obtained goes to the support of the workers in the settlement. I had the great pleasure of meeting the Mizpah people in a body and of answering their questions and giving my own views on such matters as seemed pertinent to the situation of  the  settlers, in the course of an hour and a quarter's talk. A like address was given to the members of the Monmouth group shortly afterwards.

At the meeting at Monmouth the chairman publicly requested me to refute, so far as lay in my power, all  the stories that are current about dissensions in that group. He assured me that the reports have no basis in fact, and that the disagreements that have occurred were personal and trivial, and only such as might arise among the different members of any community.

On the whole 1 was greatly pleased with the work done and the spirit shown by these colonists. They satisfied me that they had taken hold of the scheme with a determination to win. Whether the settlements succeed ultimately or not will largely depend on circumstances of seasons, markets, and to forth, over which the settlers have no control.


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Tuesday 24 July 1894, page 2

From a private letter under date of the 18th instant, received from a member of the Monmouth Group, settled at Chinchilla, we have been kindly permitted to make the following extract :-

" We have been getting on better during the last two months than in the first part of our residence here. We have 200 acres fenced in, and twenty-seven acres in one place cleared and planted with wheat. Altogether we have twenty-nine or thirty acres under wheat, besides which we have cleared another four acres for tobacco. The plot is not ploughed yet. We are busy with the plough two miles from here, preparing for the summer crops, but that will not be cleared, as we shall plant round the trees for this season. All our men are not at home, five being away fencing, one mile of which has been completed, and our clerk has received the £12 due for the work. During the last six weeks we have had potatoes of our own, but they will soon be done. It is possible that each member will get his own seed, and be allowed to plant for himself. The blacksmith in busy. I hope that things will work all right now, though, with one thing and another, there has been a lot of lost time. Next Sunday will be " the Army Sunday," as it is called. Several members of the Mizpah Group (Salvation Army) come over here and hold services every third Sunday; and on Sunday nights one of them preaches for us. We had a Band of Hope meeting on Monday night. The programme was as follows:

Opening hymn; Elizabeth Kemp, recitation-'Dolly's Name;' Elizabeth Kemp and Emily Charles, duet; Mrs. Wilkin, reading; Mrs. Kemp, song; Mary Kemp, recitation--'It is Caused by Beer?' Mr. Perry, solo; Katie Kempthorne, recitation-' Two Eyes;' Mr. Downs, song; Mrs. Pearce, recitation--'Jack Booyer's Wife;' Mrs. Wilkin, solo-' Where is My Wandering Boy To Night Jessie Kemp, recitation 'Silver Question ; hymn; Fred Kempthorne, recitation--'Little Bird;'Mr. and Mrs. Wilkin, song- 'Give Me a Cot;' Mr. Charles, recitation-' The Bell Man;' Mrs. Wilkin, solo-'God be With You Till We Meet Again;' Mr. Charles, recitation; hymn. The meeting was closed with prayer."


Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 - 1922), Wednesday 25 July 1894, page 3

The Aubigny Election.


The present Government, much against their grain, passed the Communal Settlements Act or an Act in favour of such settlements. What are these settlers going to do ? Take the one at Chinchilla. The land won't grow a potato. Other settlements are just as bad. Men picked up from the outskirts of Brisbane are sent up to these settlements to live at the expense of the public, just to decrease the number of unemployed in the capital. These men have no right to go, and the Government have no right to send them. It is things like this that ruin a country. Co-operation in Queensland never came to any good yet.' 


Worker (Brisbane, Qld. : 1890 - 1955), Saturday 28 July 1894, page 1


a parcel of tobacco seed has been forwarded to one of the industrial groups. A parcel of tobacco seeds — have been sent to the industrial group near Chinchilla from the Department of Agriculture, marked 'Through the courtesy of J. T. Bell, Esq., M.L.A.' Is the property of the people intrusted  to his department to be thus subjected to the patronage of Parliamentary representatives looking ahead for votes.? It does not seem unlikely, I thought, that the seeds and plants of the department were given out for distribution without an appended advertisement of Parliamentary courtesy…….


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Saturday 11 August 1894, page 4


From a private letter received by the Rev. A. Horan from the secretary of the Monmouth Group (Chinchilla) we are kindly permitted to make a few extracts. The writer states :

" We have about a mile and a quarter of two rail, and a mile and a half of three rail, fencing erected. About thirty acres of ground have been stumped and sown with wheat, which is looking splendid, Professor Shelton remarked that it had been sown very regularly. Altogether, we have over fifty acres ploughed. The tobacco ground is available for the young plants as soon as they are ready for transplanting. The town improvements have not been pushed forward very much, as we have had as much as we could do in the cultivation. When the days get longer, we can make more headway then in our 'spare time,' by which I mean between daylight and our specified hours for work under the foreman's orders.

We have a party of fencers working away. They have erected two or three miles of fencing. The cattle have increased in number by 83 per cent, since we left Ipswich, but the horses do not take as kindly to the change of climate.

All the members and their families are in excellent health, The pit-saw is the very thing we wanted, and we are very thankful to you for being so thoughtful of our necessity. The weather has not been favourable for the setting of the lucerne seed, which was gratefully received


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Tuesday 25 September 1894, page 6



Mr. T. H. Fallows, secretary of the Mizpah Group, near Chinchilla, sends us the following interesting letter concerning the progress of the settlement :

It is some time since you had a report from here regarding the progress made, and we have thought that at this time, when so much is being said and when the minds of the people of these colonies are turned more particularly of late to the land, that it would not be out of place to let people know how the Mizpah members are getting on.

Our group consists of 35 members, 34 of whom are here. The families are made up as follows; Two numbering 9;1 of 8; 3 of 7; 5 of 6; 6 of 5, 9 of 4, 3 of 3; 1 of 2, and 4 single men, and 1 married man whose family are yet in Brisbane, numbering in all 199 souls, who are living at the rate of 1s. 7d. per week per head. Of the number of children here (between 90 and 100) about 40 are between the ages of 7 and 14, and any one acquainted with feeding children, especially in a climate like this with its bracing air, will know that it takes as much to fill their mouths as it does their parents .

I have told people, and they can hardly believe me, that we are living at the rate of 1s. 7d. per week, but such is the case, and we have not had the hard lot to put up with that some people would have us believe. Personally speaking I am sorry I did not go on the land when I came to this colony some thirteen years ago. The Government have loaned us £700, which amounts to £20 per member, the amount prescribed for in the Act. As to whether any more will be available waits to be seen. Still we are trusting that by a persevering spirit and good seasons we shall be enabled to sail along.

I noticed in "Hansard" during the debate on the Address in reply to the Governor's Speech, allusion was made to the nature of the land within our area, and I, with our other members, was surprised at the remarks made by a member of the House on the subject. He says half of our land is composed of sand ridges. That is entirely wrong. Not more than from 100 to 150 acres out of our area of 4000 acres is sandy, and this is admirably suited for the purpose some of it will be put to, namely, fruit growing and raisin culture. The remainder of the soil is the same that the hon. gentleman saw, and which he pronounced good land to myself and the foreman of works who was present. The land is not of the best that could be got, but the members as a whole are satisfied with it, and are agreed that it will serve the purpose we want it for.

As regards what that gentleman said respecting our stopping here so long as we are subsidised by Government, and that when Government aid is withdrawn we shall withdraw too, it is not doing us justice to say the least. It has got to be proved yet, and the next few months will decide it too. We are determined to give this a fair trial, and I have heard members say that nothing but actual starvation will cause them to leave.

Regarding our potato crop, I must say it did not come up to what it should have been. This was owing to bad seed and not to the land. Myself and the foreman of works while riding round with the hon. gentleman told him the seed was backward, and that if the frost kept off long enough we should have a good crop. Unfortunately the frost came all too soon, and so stopped their growth, but a better potato I do not wish to eat. To show that we have confidence in that land we are planting 4 acres with seed which is forward enough, and given the season I believe we shall get a good crop.

As regards the prickly pear, that gentleman is to a certain extent right. That is our greatest drawback, but we have hundreds of acres with little or none, and we intend to cultivate this land till such time as we can afford to clear this pest.

The improvements effected so far are as follows; One paddock containing 64 acres, which is enclosed by a two-rail split post and rail fence. Inside this paddock a plot of ground 20 acres in extent is entirely cleared of timber; about 160 apple-trees have been grubbed out and burnt. This is all ploughed, and at the present time 5 acres of it are under wheat, 6 acres under oats, 1 acres under potatoes, and the remainder under maize. The remaining 44 acres are used as a horse paddock, in which is an excavated tank capable of holding 7000 gallons.

The western boundary is completely fenced from Charlie's Creek to the railway two miles in length with a substantial two-rail split fence. By the time this is in print we shall have fenced in another paddock of 385 acres with a two-rail hanging fence extending from the village to the railway line, which is to be used for grazing purposes. This paddock is divided into two, with a tank in each, so that we shall not have to run our stock to the creek for water.

The village, which contains about 45 acres of light soil, is fenced in with a split post and three-rail fence with gates at the end of the streets. We have not many houses built yet owing to our inability to obtain timber suitable, but we are going in for something more substantial in the shape of bricks. At the present time we have two brickmakers (members) making bricks, and they told me that they will produce a brick equal to any they made while in Brisbane. They have burnt a kiln of 8000 for a trial, and they are quite satisfied they can turn out a good article. This will not only be better for the members as regards comfort, but will be a source of income, as there will no doubt be a demand for bricks along the line.

At the present time the members are putting all their spare time into gardening, and by the kindness of the Hon. A. Rutledge, who gave us about 600 of his choicest grape cuttings, we have been enabled to distribute them among the members to put in their own ground. In the village are the usual buildings which are necessary for our purposes, stores and butcher's shop, blacksmith and wheelwright's shop, and shoemaker's shop. The shoemaker does all the needed work for the group, besides which he does a good trade with the general public.

The blacksmith, who has not been here long, is also getting known ; he also does the work for the group, and I have no doubt will do a good trade from the outside public. We are nicely settled down, and are quite contented, and I am glad to say all are in good health. The same spirit of unity with which we started is still maintained.

The amount of ploughing that has been done is about 50 acres, but in this respect we have been handicapped for want of rain, or else it should have had at least 15 or 20 acres more done. Bordering on the village we have a 10-acre paddock under wheat of the Canning Downs variety, which is now looking splendid. This paddock is fenced with a split post and three rail fence, but as it is on the edge of the scrub the wallabies were playing havoc with the wheat, and we had to close fence it with split palings, which caused us extra work. The wallabies were stopped just in time or they would have destroyed our crop. As it is they did no damage, but rather helped it, as it will grow stronger and better. This paddock is cleared with the exception of a few of the largest trees

Adjoining this is another paddock of 14 acres, and this will be put under maize, broom millet. We expect to have about 30 acres under maize this year. This paddock is also cleared with the exception of a few large trees. The soil of these paddocks is a free black and brown soil.

 An orchard of 5 acres adjoins this one, the soil being a sandy loam. We have at the present time 208 fruit trees of various kinds, which are doing exceedingly well, and which we trust will form the nucleus of a large fruit industry in this district. Fifty-six of these were purchased from a nursery company; fifty more were presented to us by the late Mr W.Vowles, of Ipswich, who also presented us with a grand variety of garden seeds for distribution among the members. Mr W. Vowles also got his friend, Mr. Walter Hill, of Eight mile Plains, to assist us, and his donation of over 100 trees of various kinds will always be remembered with much thankfulness. To the two last named gentlemen and the Hon A. Rutledge we are greatly indebted for their generosity.

 We have also 3000 raisin and currant cuttings purchased for us by the Agricultural Department. Adjoining the orchard is a calf and pig paddock of 8 acres in extent This also is completely fenced with a close paling fence, and adjoining this is also a paddock of 8 acres entirely cleared of all timber, and fenced with a close paling fence. This has been ploughed twice, and is now ready for the tobacco to be planted in it. Nineteen beds are planted with seed, and it is now showing up nicely, and notwithstanding the Tobacco Bill just passed, which will in a measure regard this coming industry, we intend to push over all difficulties All these paddocks are in a continuous line and present a formidable array of fencing and a wall of defence from the attacks of the wallabies.

I have no doubt at all that if we have anything like a fair season we shall do well We have had a very dry and cold winter, which has tried us very much, in fact we have not had a fair chance as far as seasons are concerned since we have been here, but are looking forward to better seasons. Ten of our men have been away fencing, we having secured tender from Mr R. Mackey, of Weambilla. They have just finished, and although the money they earned was very acceptable, yet we missed their labour on the settlement, but now we shall go in faster than ever.

Six months up the land commissioner at Toowoomba valued our improvements at £600, and since his time we have been steadily at work, so that now our improvements will amount to a considerable sum.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Tuesday 2 October 1894, page 5




At the special meeting of the Chamber of Commerce on Friday Mr. E. T. Scammell, now on a brief visit to the colony, stated that he was about to pay a visit to the Mizpah and the Monmouth co-operative communities at Chinchilla. In his address he had spoken of the warm interest in the subject, and the announcement that he would make a report on the settlements when he returned was received with applause. Yesterday afternoon, on the occasion of the Chamber meeting to hear his further remarks upon other industrial questions, Mr. Scammell fulfilled his promise.

He said he was very glad to relate that he had paid a visit to these settlements, and a very pleasant visit it had proved. He went over the two settlements, and in both cases, he spent an hour or two hours at different places, and made an exhaustive inquiry as far as he could as to the way in which they were working. He asked a series of questions, mainly of the clerk or secretary, and he also inquired incidentally apart from him, and in the main he was extremely satisfied with the answers that he received. He felt that he must congratulate this colony upon having succeeded, at any rate, to a certain point having succeeded admirably in dealing with the question of village settlement. He knew nothing about the other village settlements. He could only say that if they all proved as satisfactory the success had been marvellous.


He could tell them that in the Mizpah Group there were 159 persons--men, women, and children--and in the Monmouth Group 102 men, women, and children. The number of children in the Mizpah Group was larger in proportion than in the other group, but the group was worked so economically that it cost only Is. 7d. per head per week to keep the whole of these 159 persons, and they were in sound and ruddy health, and their spirits were extremely good and hopeful.

In the case of the other group it cost about 2s. per head to maintain, but there was a larger proportion of adults in it. But just fancy, this colony was now keeping 260 or 270 people for less than 2s. per head per week. While these groups had each received over £700 from the Government, they had placed on the land improvements considerably above £700. Some six months ago it appeared that the improvements were valued at £600, and  since the settlers estimated that the value had doubled, so that they had now put on the land improvements valued at from £1000 to £1200 against the £700 advanced by the Government--he thought by no means a bad asset. Of course the improvements might not realise that in the market, but these people were sent to do certain work, and received a certain sum out of charity, and according to the land commissioner six months ago their improvements were equal in value to £600, and considerably more at the present time.


All those groups wore working most industriously and most harmoniously. They had the right sort of principle--that was the co-operative principle. In the first group there was a strong religious sentiment, which helped to bind the members together ; and in the second they had a strong socialistic element. But at any rate those two groups were working in very excellent harmony. They had their regular meetings, which they carried on together, and were very hopeful that their settlements would soon be self-supporting.


They might require a little further aid from the Government, and if they did, he thought the Government ought to be prepared to give it without hesitation. After what he had seen in Victoria, he considered that these two groups were  doing excellently well, and he congratulated the people of the colony and the Government on the working out of such an excellent scheme. He saw that the groups had received £20 per individual under Section 33 of the Act. Section 34, however, made provision for further advances to be made if necessary, and he did not think that the Government  would have any difficulty in making small grants under that section.

That of course was a matter for consideration, but so far as he could read the Act, if the Government wanted to advance a few pounds they could do so, and he thought they would be thoroughly justified in doing so in these particular cases. It seemed to him that this was the way out, only as he had said, they would want labour colonies to deal with the criminal class, paupers, or the helpless poor. We wanted labour colonies, which so far as possible would be municipalised, and then we wanted village settlements for industrious workmen out of employment, who were willing to co-operate  together, but had not means, subject to thorough control by the Government. Then we wanted the class of village settlement in which the members were able to contribute something. The latter would have to be subject to such control as might be necessary.


At Chinchilla he had a long interview with Mr. Warner, the land commissioner at Toowoomba, and he (Mr. Warner) told him that his experience had shown him that some system of control was necessary in connection with these labour colonies and village settlements. He (Mr. Scammell) would venture to say that the Government here had not deserved to succeed in these cases, because it seemed to him an extremely risky thing to do to settle a large number of persons on land, such as they had been put on there, and in other parts of the colony, without making any definite provision for control or instruction. Why, those people up there had only received one hour's instruction, and that was from Professor Shelton, since they started. They had had to work out their salvation in their own way. They had made mistakes, according to the land commissioners, and they had had to rectify their errors. He was not surprised that others had not done better, because they had had no control and no instruction, and it seemed to him that they ought to have both.


He thought that if Christian people would help the Government in this matter, they could render material aid by providing these settlements with literature and some medical supervision. There was no medical supervision for these 260 people, though there had been five births in one of the colonies and two or three in the other. It seemed to him that something should be done if possible, in the direction of providing lectures in connection with ambulance classes. A good chest of medicine should also be supplied, and sick accommodation was badly wanted. He had no doubt that these things would receive attention in due time.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Friday 19 October 1894, page 2

Industrial Group. Settlement Near Warra.

Interesting Detailed Description.

Mr. Wm. Floyd, secretary of the Industrial Co-operative Group, settled at Warra, on the Western railway, writes as follows with reference to the members of the community : —

As this group was the first co-operative settlement group organised, and as the publication of its constitution prior to the introduction of the Co-operative Communities Land Settlement Bill into Parliament attracted considerable notice at the time, it is thought that a statement of the progress made up to date will not be altogether devoid of interest. It is now six months since our pioneers arrived on the land, and no report of our doings has yet reached the Press. One reason is that we wero somewhat diffident about coming before the public earlier, as we preferred to be able to talk about something we had actually accomplished rather than to have to talk about what we intended to do. 

Our pioneer party consisted of eleven men, seven of whom made the journey by road, and were joined on their arrival by four others. This party proceeded at once to the erection of temporary shelters for the women and children, who followed a week later, and each family since arriving on the land has had a similar shelter provided for them. For this purpose, some four tons of galvanised iron was brought into requisition. Since the arrival of the pioneers other members have joined the settlement in twos and threes, at intervals of several weeks, consequently wo have been somewhat handicapped by lack of hands for the various works undertaken. Taking this into consideration, we believe we are able to show a satisfactory record of progress  made, notwithstanding the terrible plague of wallabies and other posts with which the district is infested. Our land, which crosses the Western  line nearly midway between Warra and Chinchilla, runs southward to the Condamine River and Cooranga Crook, and is also watered by Jinki Jinki Crook, a chain of lagoons running through the middle of our land from east to west. The area comprises box and iron wood forests, open plains, and  dense brigalow scrub. So for as we are yet able to judge, we have no reason to be other than satisfied with our choice of a site, which was selected on the recommendation of Mr. P. M'Lean and Professor Shelton, who were asked for their advice before it  became known that a Communities Bill was contemplated.

True, we have already been forced to the conclusion that every bit of cultivation and even grazing land must be enclosed with a paling fence to protect it from the incursions  of the wallabies, if we are to get any satisfactory results therefrom.  Before pronouncing a definite opinion on the quality of the soil, &c., we prefer to await the results of our present crops. These, owing to the favourable weather we are experiencing, are at present looking in excellent condition, and give promise of a good return. We are even now quite satisfied that much of our land is well adapted for fruit growing, and especially for grape culture.

Our improvements consist of a cultivation paddock of 60 acres, partly  forest land and partly scrub. This is all cleared, much of it stumped, and all enclosed with a substantial close paling fence.  About 30 acres   have been ploughed, harrowed, and nearly the whole of it put under crops as  follows: — Two acres of wheat, from seed supplied by the Agricultural Department. The "Allora Spring " is doing splendidly, and  is already coming into full ear. A small patch of "Ambroso Standup" sown alongside this at the same time is a total failure. One and a half acre of oats, which are now about a foot high and looking us well as could be desired ; 6 acres of potatoes, the sorts planted being "Early Rose," "Blueskin," and "Brunnell's Beauty," but chiefly "Early Rose”; these are up apparently without a miss and have already been earthed-up. The others are not so forward, but are coming up very regularly and are looking fine and healthy. Eight acres of maize all up and doing well, and 7 or 8 acres of pumpkins.

Besides those, we have planted in  the same paddock five beds of onions, 800 to 1,000 head of cabbage, both doing well, also two bags New Guinea yams, a quantity of sweet potatoes, vegetable marrows, Japanese pumpkins, and watermelons. We are now putting in from  five to six acres of sorghum, broom millet, panicum, and Guinea grass, whilst other ground is being prepared for tobacco, five kinds of which, including the Fly River variety, we have up in the seed beds, all doing very well, some of it being ready for transplanting.

Immediately outside this paddock we have other 50 acres of scrub ringbarked, preparatory to extended operations. We have also about 200 acres of forest land ringbarked. The lagoon from which we draw our drinking water has been cleaned out and enclosed with a paling fence to protect it from the cattle, dogs, ducks, &c.. Our kitchen garden was one of the first things set going by our pioneers, and being pitched on an old sheep yard, everything put into it has done exceedingly well, consequently for some weeks post we have been supplying our members with an abundance and variety of garden stuff, which they little expected in so short a time. This plot is also our nursery, and contains over 200 young fruit trees, some of which were presented by members to the group, and others purchased from various nurserymen, and consist of oranges, lemons, apples,  pears, plums, peaches, persimmons, quinces, &c.; we have also some hundreds of strawberry plants (four varieties), from which we are now supplying our members literally with the first "fruits" of our labour:

We have also over 1,000 grape cuttings, all striking well, including the raisin and currant grapes ; 500 of these cuttings were procured from Roma, some from the locality, and some through the Agricultural Department. In addition to the above our members have a large number and variety of fruit trees and grape vines planted out on their various allotments.

It will be seen that we have been, so far, going in pretty extensively for experiment; but it is in the direction of dairying and pig-keeping that we expect to make money, if at all, and as soon as our permanent stockyard, which is now well underway, is completed, we intend to procure a few good dairy cows with a view to laying the foundation of our future herd. We have been promised the loan of some station cows, which  will serve our purpose in the meantime. We already possess a first-class cream separator, churn, and all the necessary dairying utensils.

Another big job we have on hand besides the stockyard is the erection of a close paling fence, which, when completed, will enclose from 1,200 to 1,600 acres of fairly good grazing and agricultural land, and for some considerable time, our operations will be practically confined to this area. At present we have four cows' milking, which just supplies us with our morning's milk. We have 40 head of mixed cattle, 7 draught horses, and 4 saddle hacks belonging to the group, whilst there are 7 or 8 others belonging to various members; 10 hives of bees, 2 drays, 4 ploughs, 1 cultivator, 2 harrows (one of which, the strongest and by far the most useful, was made on the promises by our own blacksmith and carpenter), one roller, also made on the premises. We have a thoroughly practical bootmaker in the settlement who is kept pretty constantly going making and mending. We also have a tailor now, and next week start manufacturing our own " moles " &c. Our blacksmith's plant is complete in every detail and it goes without saying that this is a most useful institution and one that could not possibly be done without. We have also a small printing plant (compete) ; this is now being got into working order, and in future our timesheets, credit notes, and other printing will be " Done on the premises."

We have a sawpit and two men are kept constantly going thereat, sawing cypress pine and ironbark for the permanent cottages now in course of erection. One of there is compete and occupied, whilst two others are nearly so. This cottage, which is a type of those to follow, is in size 24 x 13 with 9-foot studs, is built 3 feet from the ground on box stumps, capped ; the frame-work is stout brigalow ; the slabs placed horizontally with bevelled edges, are of ironbark, whilst the floor, doors, and window shutters are of sawn cypress pine, and a very  substantial and comfortable cottage it is. The roof of this one is of galvanised iron, but as two of our men are now engaged splitting ironbark shingles, and are turning out a first-class article, many of the future cottages will be roofed with these and the iron reserved for group purposes.

Our permanent village is laid out in one-acre allotments, one of which is assigned to each member, and together with a cottage similar to the one described above, built for him by the group, becomes his own property, to do with as he pleases, except part with it. Two 2-chain roads cross each other at right angles. The four corner blocks in the centre of the village — three 1 and a half;  and one 2 and a half acres — are reserved, the latter for a State school for which we are negotiating at the present time, the other for a store, workshops, a meeting-room, &c. At the end of one of these roads a well has been sunk to a depth of over 80 feet, but we have met with no sign of water yet , and are told we shall have to go to a much greater depth before we are likely to strike water of a useful quality. The shaft has been slabbed from top to bottom and the work suspended until one or two more pressing jobs have been completed.

Considerable improvements  have also been effected by individual members on their private allotments, in the shape of  clearing, fencing, and cultivation. There are now 25 members on the ground, who with their wives and families number 117 souls in all, and several other families are preparing to join the settlement immediately. All here are in good health, cheerfully content, and full of hopeful anticipations for the future. I trust it is needless for me to state that all who take an interest in co-operative land settlement and seek practical evidence of its working will be heartily welcomed by us, whenever they may choose to pay us a visit.


Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), Saturday 27 October 1894, page 798

Notes and Comments.

The report appearing in this week's issue from the Industrial Group, Warra, presents a happy contrast to some of which we have lately heard. It is of course possible that the secretary is colouring his report; but it bears the stamp of truth; and it has not been the custom of such groups to suppress their Grievances. With the exception of the reference to the wallabies there is not a single note of complaint in Mr. Floyd's report, and even the wallabies are brought in only to justify the expenditure of so much time and labour on fencing. For the rest the report presents a rare picture of bard work, substantial progress, and cheerful content. Fifty acres cleared, 250 acres ringbarked. Crops of all kinds planted, most of them showing well, and representing a variety which, sale apart, will go far to supply the wants of the settlement. A garden richly stocked with vegetables, fruit trees, strawberries, and grape vines. A permanent stockyard aimed at, with a view to dairying and pig keeping, which is expected to be the main support of the settlement. Well sinking undertaken in addition to heavy fencing. A fairly full stock of agricultural implements possessed. Boot-making, tailoring, black-smithy, printing going on, and permanent cottages in course of erection. And through all nothing said about help from Government. More power to men and women who can work together with a will in this way.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Friday 16 November 1894, page 4

A Parliamentary party will leave Melbourne street Station at 10.35 this evening for Chinchilla. The party will include about eighteen members, and is undertaken with a view to visiting the two co-operative groups there. The members will return to Brisbane at about 11 o'clock on Saturday evening.


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Saturday 17 November 1894, page 5

Monmouth Settlement.


In justice to a most zealous and efficient officer, and in the hope that a paragraph now and again from this settlement will not be without interest to your readers, we trust that space will be found in your widely-read paper for the following :—

On Saturday last, the 10th instant, Mr. William Hall, late of Ipswich, and a member of this Group, was coming at midday from his work in the bush, and unfortunately missed the track. He was not missed until 9 p.m., when it was discovered that he was not in the settlement. A search party, consisting of nearly all the members, immediately spread out in all likely directions, but, although it was strong moonlight and the search was kept up for the greater part of the night, the party were unsuccessful. Early on the following morning a message was sent to Constable Higman, of Chinchilla, and in a very short space of time that officer and the redoubtable "Johnnie Lewis," his tracker, arrived on the scene, bringing with them sandwiches and other refreshments likely to be needful, they evidently intending to find their man. The constable and his tracker, in company with some half-dozen members of the community, left the settlement early in the forenoon, and were not long in pulling up the missing man's tracks. Losing them once, and as promptly finding them again, Mr. Hall was eventually found about eight miles from the settlement, very much exhausted and distressed in mind and body. He had been walking continuously from noon on Saturday until Sunday afternoon, and must have traversed about forty miles of country, he having reached a point thirty miles away, from which he was making his way back when found, although quite in ignorance of his whereabouts. He arrived in the settlement on Sunday afternoon, to the great relief of the inhabitants, and speaks in terms of the highest appreciation of the kindness and consideration shown him by Constable Higman. By inserting this you will greatly oblige us, and at the same time enable us to pay a well-deserved tribute to the efficiency and promptitude displayed by Constable Higman and his assistant.


Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Monday 19 November 1894, page 5


[By Our Special, Reporter.]

The Parliamentary trip to Chinchilla, organised by Mr. J. T. Bell, M.L.A., for the purpose of enabling his co-legislators to visit the Mizpah and the Monmouth Groups was interesting, and, so far as such rapid journeying permitted, enjoyable. THE only thing which diminished the pleasure of the excursion, was the period which had to be spent in the train, and that was rendered as little irksome as possible. The party was made up of the following members :-Messrs. J. T. Bell, J. B. Dickson, Curtis, M Master, Watson, Grimes, Fisher, Murray, Ogden, Dalrymple, Stephens, Cribb, Plunkett, Boles, Foxton, Leahy, Rawlings, Jackson, Callan, and Thomas. All sections were thus represented. The party left by special train at about 10.35 Friday night, and arrived at Chinchilla shortly after 7 o'clock next morning.

After breakfast buggies and horses were placed at the disposal of the members, and some of them drove while others rode to the co-operative groups. The whole of the morning was spent in this way. Luncheon was partaken of, and at 2.30 p.m. the members resumed their places in the train, and a start was made on the return journey. Brisbane was reached at 11.5 on Saturday night, and the members, tired and dusty, dispersed to their respective homes. Had the trip been organised before the question of co-operative settlement came before Parliament recently, the tone of discussion would no doubt have been very different. Members would have been able to speak from the point of vantage of personal acquaintance with the results in two groups reputed to be most promising. From conversations which I had with members after the visit, I gathered that what they had seen had made a deep impression upon them. The decided opinion of so cautious a public man as Mr. J. H. Dickson, and of experts in agricultural matters such as Mr. Plunkett and Mr. Grimes, was emphatically that the settlers deserved to succeed, and were entitled to all legitimate support and encouragement. How far their prospects are commensurate with the enthusiasm of their spirits and the faithfulness of their work it is premature to say. There can be no doubt that it hard work and self-denial can achieve success neither of these groups will fail. The gravest question which presented itself, to Messrs Plunkett and Grimes, was the nature of the land with which the settlers have to deal. The impression they formed was not favourable. They did not condemn it, but Mr. Plunkett, at any rate, classified it as only second-class land, which might grow wheat, fruit, and tobacco, but would certainly not produce general agricultural produce.

The Monmouth Group demonstrated the suitability of their land for wheat by the growth of 30 acres of healthy wheat. Their neighbours seemed to pin their  faith to tobacco or fruit, but neither had advanced sufficiently far to enable the result to be precast. One thing was very plain, and that was, that if the same industry and solid hard work had been devoted to the cultivation of first-class agricultural land the chances of ultimate success would have been much more brilliant. 

What elements of permanence there may be in the settlement and their methods of working have yet to be demonstrated. Practically they have had nine months on the land, during which they have, in the words of Mr. Grimes, allowed no grass to grow under their foot, but they have not had to face a dry season. The fiery trial of a drought, which it is to be hoped will be long deferred, would, it is much to be feared, mean annihilation to co-operative settlement in the Chinchilla district.


The Mizpah Group is settled on land situated about two miles from Chinchilla station. Spiritually it has some connection with the Salvation Army, but the secretary, Mr. Fellows, informed me that no material assistance is received from that body. This was the first group to be visited by the Parliamentary party, and the time spent here robbed the Monmouth Group of some of the attention which it would have otherwise received. The road to Mizpah lay through country gratefully shaded in places by the apple tree, much of it flat but broken by ridges. The drive was pleasant, though both dusty and warm. Indeed the sun was intensely hot, and what little breeze there was, was hot and dry. The Mizpah settlers have an area of about 4000 acres. The part upon which they have located their village and brought under cultivation possesses a soft crumbly soil of a sandy nature. The settlers say it is remarkably retentive of water, and that though the surface may be dry a few inches below the soil is always moist. Yet strange to say they have not succeeded in striking water. The secretary stated that several  efforts had been made in the direction of sinking for water, but none had been found. As, however, plenty of lagoon water of good quality is available, want of water has not been one of the difficulties with which the settlers have had to contend.

Their troubles, however, must have been legion. Of the thirty-two men who are now on the roll of members, only three or four had had any practical experience in agricultural matters. Possibly, even the knowledge of this small contingent had also been discounted by a more recent acquaintance with town pursuits . To all intents and purposes the Mizpah settlers were new, not only to the district, but to farming. In place of experience they had a willingness to work and learn, and an enthusiastic belief in the co-operative principle. Mr. Fellows, their secretary, is an enthusiast, but his enthusiasm has not run away with him. He has a great belief in the co-operative principle, but he made no secret of his opinion that the Mizpah Group will have to receive further Government assistance if it is to achieve any success.

Mr. Fellows said without reservation that unless the Government stands by the group till it has become self-supporting, it will simply have to go under. The group is a long way off the self-supporting stage yet, but it has reduced the cost of living to a very low figure. Men, women, and children number altogether 160. Mr. Fellows says that the cost of maintaining that number is now 1s. 4 and a half d. per head per week. That represents the value of the rations supplied by the Government out of the loan made to the group. In addition to that the settlers have the vegetables they grow, and the milk supplied by their cows. Judging by the healthy appearance of the settlers, their wives and children, their food and mode of life do not disagree with them.

If the same people had to be maintained in the towns it would cost the Government more, and they would be getting nothing in return. Now, at an almost infinitesimal coat, these settlers are not only being supported, but they are acquiring experience and habits of industry which in the event of failure will make them useful agricultural labourers or farmers wherever they may go.

As we drove through the sliprails of the outer fence one of the first things to attract attention was a brick building in process of erection. The presence of a solid looking brick structure, in a part of the country where settlers are content with bark humpies, or at most with slab huts, was certainly a surprise. Not far off was another building of a similar character, in a trifle more advanced stage. Mr. Fellows was not long in assuring us that the group had decided to make all their houses of brick, because they had to go too far for suitable timber. He showed us with pride samples of the bricks in use, and pointed out at no great distance the kiln in which they had been burned. The bricks were hard and well burned, but evidently of a very porous nature. Later on we saw the brickmaker at work, and he was evidently an old hand at it. The faults in his bricks were due to the material at his disposal, not to his workmanship. As we passed through the settlement ,we saw seven or eight well-built slab huts, and abundant evidences of capable building work. The secretary's office, with its brick floor, thick slab walls, and shingle roof, was delightfully cool. The preference for brick did not strike one as altogether wise. Wooden houses would be much healthier, more easily built, and more durable than the kind of brick structure that it will be possible for the settlers to erect.

The village is laid out in a series of acre blocks, most of which are already fenced in. The communistic principle in the articles of the group apparently stops at this fence. All within each member's acre is his own, and all he produces there is for his own use. The only proviso is that he shall not do any work there until he has rendered his nine hours' labour, or whatever may be ordered to the group.

No similar interdict is laid upon the women or the children up to the age of 14. Advanced ideas on women's rights form no part of the Mizpah system. " We allow no petticoat government here," said Mr. Fellows. " Ladies have to take a back seat in the settlement, and if any of them attempt to interfere we simply tell them to go and mind their own business." Women are restricted to their household and family duties, and the men are ostensibly do all the government and the out-door work. Many of the settlers have to be satisfied with this, but all have cultivated more or less their acre blocks. Their work in the settlement is represented by the clearing and cultivation of a large area of land. About twelve acres of maize has been put in and about thirty acres altogether , will shortly be under maize. A seven-acre paddock is being planted with tobacco, while healthy-looking plants are being cultivated in a nursery close by.

Adjacent is an acre or two fenced off and planted with all kinds of fruit trees. Some 3000 cuttings of different varieties of grapes have been put in the ground, and seem to be thriving well. The group intend going in largely for raisin culture. Areas of varying extent have been put under potatoes, wheat, barley, and rye. The cereals were ready for the scythe, and two of the group were at work mowing as we passed through the paddock. The crop of potatoes was badly in want of rain, and it made a poor impression upon the experts of it the party. Neither the maize nor the potatoes seemed likely to yield the group any return, and it was abundantly apparent that the soil was too light for such crops. Grave doubts were expressed by one expert as to the suitability of the land for tobacco. As it is from the latter that the settlers look for their first return, it will be a serious matter if, his misgivings are realised. All that can be done, in the way of attending to the plant is evidently being done, and it will be a bitter, disappointment if the crop is a failure. 

The only monetary return which the settlers have had has come from outside work.  Eight of their number were employed for four months on a fencing contract, which yielded £12 a mile to the general fund of the group. Eight others went out ringbarking, and received for their labour some thirty-eight head of cattle. In addition to this, the group derives a profit of about £2 a week from its shoemakers' shop, which does a good deal of outside work. It may be interesting to point out here that the affairs of the group are managed by a committee of six, who decide what crops are to be put in, what outside work may be undertaken by the members, and how the work of the settlement is to be carried out. Their orders are carried out by a foreman of works, who has the supervision of all the operations of the settlers.

Generally the men work nine hours, but the  foreman has the right to call upon members to work longer if it is necessary they should do so. In their little local parliament Mr. Fellows told the visitors, they sometimes have differences, but they always settle them on the spot, and do not carry them outside. Generally, he stated, the greatest harmony and good feeling prevailed.

Before the visitors left the settlement a general muster of the men was called, and Mr. Bell, Mr. Dickson, and Mr. Grimes briefly addressed them. The speakers spoke in warmly appreciative language of the industry which the members of the group had shown, and encouraged them with the assurance, that whenever the question of co-operative settlement came before Parliament again, they would give the Mizpah Group all the legitimate assistance that they could.

The question was asked of Mr. Dickson whether he would favour further Government assistance to co-operative settlement generally. He replied that he thought every settlement would have to rest on its individual merits, and that if a good case was made out, he would support it. Each of the speakers assured the members of the group that they deserved success, and heartily wished that they might attain it. Mr Grimes, while commending the settlers on what they had done, expressed regret that they had apparently started on the worst land that they possessed. He warned them, too, that fortunes were not to be made from farming  nowadays, and that it by dint of hard work, they made ends meet, they would be doing all that other farmers could do. One request alone came from the settlers, and that may be warmly commended to charitable people. The settlers have no medicine, and no chance of medical attendance unless  the doctor at Dalby out of charity travels many miles to visit the sick. Fortunately sickness has been a stranger to the settlement, but the occasion for medicine or medical attendance may of course arise at any time in the healthiest of climates. The visitors received three hearty cheers as they drove away from the settlement.


The drive to the Monmouth Group, situated about a mile from the Mizpah Settlement, did not take very long, though it led through much  more undulated country. As the settlement was approached evidences of the presence of an industrious community began to present themselves in fencing, well-made gates, and distant cultivation. A drive up a broad Government road brought us to the village, the impression made on the visitors by the group was distinctly favourable. There was an air of activity and downright business about the place which attracted immediate attention. The village appeared to be laid out on a more regular plan than that we had just visited. Broad roads intersected the area and led along well-fenced paddocks already cleared and under cultivation. As in the Mizpah Group, each settler has one acre of land, and has more or less placed it under cultivation.

 So far only five huts have been erected, but others are in progress. No brickmaking has been attempted, but the settlers have gone in for substantial and comfortable looking slab huts with shingle roofs. Those who have not yet housed themselves live in tents or partially built huts, which they have improved by improvising broad verandas covered with boughs. As we passed, we saw preparations for the midday meal being made under these shady spots, and could not help remarking on the wisdom of concession to the climate, which these rustic structures evidenced. One of the first buildings we paused at was the blacksmith's shop. Here two smiths were engaged, and we were informed that the group derived a considerable profit from the outside work done. There being no other smithy about Chinchilla the group enjoys a monopoly of work in iron. Close by stands the store, a large and substantial-looking slab structure.

The attention of the visitors was soon directed by the secretary, Mr. Charles, to what had been done in the way of cultivation. The first, and in the opinion of the experts of the party the most satisfactory example of cultivation, was furnished by a crop of wheat covering 30 acres. Mr Plunkett was very pleased with this crop, and he said that it compared very well with the wheat grown on the Darling Downs. A good deal of it had already been out, and was distributed in healthy looking shocks (sic) about the field. The next cultivation of importance was a paddock of 70 acres of maize. This had not as yet attained much growth, but its chances of success were apparently not better than the sample we had seen at the Mizpah Group. The soil, of a similar character, was considered by those who were qualified to judge, too light to yield a profitable crop of maize.

The total area under cultivation Mr Charles informed me, was 125 acres. Of that there are two and a half acres of oats, one acre of barley, one acre of lucerne, one acre of millet, half-an-acre of flax, two acres of imphee (sic), quarter of an acre of canary seed, quarter of an acre of cow-pea, seventeen acres of potatoes, and beds of tobacco. The first return which the settlement will get from its labour will be from the wheat, but that, of course, will not go very far. No doubt their other crops will be turned to profitable purpose, but the settlers have yet to discover what will pay them best to grow.

 The improvements which they have made--consisting of forty acres of clearing, eighty acres of ringbarking, one mile of two-rail fencing and three miles of three-rail fencing, and five huts, and the cultivation referred to--represent nearly nine months' work.

The number of men on the strength of the group is thirty. The women number twenty-four and the children about sixty. Of the men, it may be said that they are strong, healthy and intelligent looking. Many of them have been accustomed to agricultural pursuits, and to this circumstance is no doubt due the systematic work which has been carried out. The method of government which has been adopted leaves to those who are best qualified the work of directing each department of work. There is one general Committee of Management, and sub-committees of advice for each kind of work. Thus, if agricultural work is to be undertaken, men who have special knowledge are first asked for their advice. Then if it commends itself to the general body, their advice is acted on. And so on in all other departments of labour. The system seems to operate well, and the men are certainly contented, hopeful, and healthy.

Their children appear more than usually bright and healthy looking. One of the party, Mr Cribb, won golden opinions from the little people by a thoughtful present of Christmas gifts. He treated the Mizpah children with the same kindly liberality, and at the same time remembered the adults by including sets of chess and draughts. Many a night will be cheered by Mr Cribb's timely gifts. Charitable people may emulate his good example by presents of clothing for the children. The little people do not want much raiment in summer, it is true; but the winters are severe, and I was informed that clothing is scarce.

I heard the hope expressed that there would be a provisional school established in one of the groups, but as there is an excellent State school a couple of miles off at Chinchilla, the necessity hardly seems to exist


Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs General Advertiser (Qld. : 1875 - 1902), Tuesday 20 November 1894, page 3

Communal Settlements. The Chinchilla Groups.

' Visit of Inspection. The Parliamentary Party. Interesting Information.

The Cost of Living 1s. 4d. Per Head Per Week. What the Groups Have Done.

By our special correspondent

Much has been written, and more has been spoken, concerning the position of the groups formed in the various portion of the colony under the provision of the Co-operative Communities Land Settlement Act. Contradictory statements have been made from time to time relative to the condition of affair prevailing at these settlements, and during a discussion in the Legislative Assembly a month ago, the Minister for Lands went so far as to say, "There are five of the groups which are more or less failures." Mr. Barlow, on that occasion, gave a summary of the position of the various groups from the reports of the Land Commissioners. It must have been gratifying to the member for Dalby to know that of all the groups the report concerning the three in his electorate— namely, the Mizpah, Monmouth, and Industrial Groups— were among the most encouraging. Of the Mizpah Mr. Warner reported, " They intend to prove a success if it is possible." And he also spoke in hopeful terms of the other two.

Consequently when an opportunity presented itself at the end of last week of paying a visit to two at least of those groups, quite a large number of members of Parliament were only too pleased to avail themselves of it. On Friday night, at 10.35 p.m., a special train conveying the Parliamentary party, which was organised by Mr. J. T. Bell, M.L.A. for Dalby, left the Melbourne-street railway station for Chinchilla. The members of Parliament composing the party were Messrs. J. T, Bell (Dalby), Hon. J. R. Dickson (Bulimba), J. McMaster (Valley), J. Watson (Valley), W. Stephens (Woolloongabba), S. Grimes (Oxley), T. Plunkett (Albert), L. Thomas (Bundamba), J. C. Cribb (Rosewood), J. F. G. Foxton (Carnarvon), John Leahy (Bulloo), A. Fisher (Gympie), J. Boles (Port Curtis), G. S. Curtis  (Rockhampton), A. J. Callan (Mount Morgan), John Murray (Normanby), D. H. Dalrymple (Mackay), A. Ogden (Townsville), G. Jackson (Kennedy), and W. H. Rawlings (Woothakata). Among other gentlemen who accompanied the party were Mr. S. W. Brookes, Mr, J. Gilligan, the Chief of the Hansard Staff, and Mr. Stafford, P.M., Dalby.

Representative of the Brisbane Courier and Telegraph also accompanied the party. At Ipswich a representative of the Queensland Time  joined the train, and at Toowoomba, which was reached at 3.20 a.m., a representative of this journal boarded her. The night was a deliciously cool one, and after the excessively warm temperature of the previous day, the run across the open downs was enjoyable. Dalby was reached just as the morning sun was peeping over the horizon, and a few hours later the party arrived at their destination with remarkably good appetites for breakfast, which were satiated by Hostess Hogg and staff. Even at that early hour (7:30 a.m.) the powerful rays of a summer sun glinting on the light, sandy soil of Chinchilla gave full promise of a remarkably hot day, and the visitors found the promise fulfilled long before taking their departure.

 Shortly after breakfast vehicles of all sorts and condition were improvised, from the drag down to the spring cart, for the conveyance of the party to the locality of the Mizpah Group. Some, including three of the four Labor members, displayed their ability as equestrians, and the fourth (the junior member for Townsville) smilingly made the best of his position perched on top of an empty gin case at the rear of a buckboard buggy. The member for Port Curtis looked anything but comfortable in a standing position on the back of another vehicle, but quite a large number of legislators seemed satisfied with lofty positions in a spring cart, the "fiery and restive steed" drawing which was skilfully piloted by the energetic member for Rosewood, who proved himself no novice in the occupation in which the son of Nimshi gained such a reputation some years back, however, the main object was to get to the groups, and the members were not very particular as to the moans of locomotion.

Tho Mizpah Settlement lies about two and a half miles from Chinchilla. The country along the line of route is of a very light, sandy soil, what one would call rather " poor land," suitable, perhaps, for the production of certain descriptions of fruit, but not for heavy cropping. " This country wants rain once a week," remarked a member of the party as we drove along, and, if not quite so often, it would certainty require the frequent attentions of Jupiter Pluvius to ensure even partial success. The land of the Mizpah settlement seems no better—at least on that part of it where the village is growing up. It is " poor land " in every sense of the term, and the people who can make agriculture pay on it, even in the most favorable seasons, and under the most favorable conditions as regards prices, deserve to succeed.

Tho Mizpah group has one advantage over many of the others. It is purely composed of the members of a religious body, who possess a well-earned, world-wide reputation for zeal in the promotion of the spiritual welfare of their fellow men and women —a body, one of whoso main principles is un-selfishness, and who stop at no sacrifices of selfish considerations in the pursuit of their efforts for the improvement of humanity. Composed, as it is, of the members of that admirable organisation known as the Salvation Army, the Mizpah group bring to their material battle with the soil much of that un-flagging determination to succeed, that characterises the members of the Army in their spiritual battle elsewhere. This, one can easily see, is a considerable advantage in a communal sense. The members are leagued together in a proper spirit, and this is one of the principal conditions conducive to success in an experiment of this nature.

The group is composed at present of 32 members, that is adult males. The vast majority, of course, are married men, and the circumstance that the community just now represents 160 souls, gives an idea of the average extent of the families. The area occupied by the group exceeds 4000 acres,  exclusive of about 500 acres reservation for roads, &c. The communal principles upon which they work are simple. Each member receives one acre around the house put up by the group, but apart from that acre he has no individual interest. The rest of the land is to be worked by the group as a whole, for the benefit of the group. The management is vested in a committee of six, with the Foreman of Works, who acts as the Chairman of the Committee, and the General Secretary, who is also storekeeper, butcher, &c. All these are chosen annually by ballot of the members.

"Haven't the  ladies got a vote?”  interjected Mr. McMaster , as the Secretary was explaining to us the constitution of the group. “No” replied the Secretary with a smile, " the women take a back seat here in that respect; they have enough to do to attend to their domestic concern.” Mr. McMaster broadly smiled and chuckled as he looked at Mr. Fisher, an expression of half amusement, half of pleasure, flitted across Mr. Dalrymple's features, while an unbelieving, sceptical sort of smile illuminated the countenance of the member for Ballon.

Mr. Fellows, the Secretary in question, seems an energetic, competent man. He keeps all the accounts in methodical fashion, serves out the rations to the wives of the members, officiates as butcher, conducts all correspondence appertaining to the group as a body, and performs many other very useful duties. The direction of the work is practically in the hands of the Committee, whose Chairman and Executive Officer is the Foreman of Work. This officer has in reality considerable authority, he is a worker, and a superintendent of workers at the some time. The rule of " he worked eight hour per day " is not enforced in the Mizpah settlement. Nominally they are supposed to work nine hours, but really there is no set period. It purely depends on the nature of the work they are at for the time being. If the Foreman of Work deems it necessary, they very often work an hour or two longer than usual.

"We are all supposed to be at work at half past seven in the morning," said one man, “but we work at all hours from sunrise to sunset." Some work in the cultivation paddock, others in the orchard, others in the forge, others at building, and so on. As regards the latter good progress has been made, and half a dozen excellent houses attest this. True, they are mainly built of bark, or slabs, but they are roomy, and comfortable in every respect. But would you believe it— already they have made a commencement in building brick houses, and for some time last Saturday 1 watched with some interest from inside the walls of one the progress of the work of shingling the roof. The fact is that brickmaking is one of the industries pursued by the Mizpah workers. The bricks are made on their  own Property, and their quality favorably impressed the majority of the visitors.  “We think it will be cheaper for us to build brick cottages." said a member of the group, "good building timber is scarce just here, and we can't afford to bring it a distance. We’ve got the stuff to make the bricks, and as some of us know how to make them, and others to put them together, we may as well do it. It looks luxurious," said he, half apologetically, as my eye wandered from the positive degree of the tent, past the comparative of the bark and slab,  to the superlative of the brick cottage to be, " but it is cheaper in the end. The bricks are close handy as you see." And this I could  not deny, for the brink yard was only a stone's throw, so to speak, away.

As I have said I watched the roofing of one with interest, because it gave me an excellent opportunity of observing how oven e very young Mizpahites did their best to help. One man presumably the father, was on the roof shingling. Perched on the top rung of a rather rickety looking ladder was a lad of about ten or eleven years with an armful of shingles, which he kept passing to the man. Half way up the ladder was a child of about eight or nine years of age, with another bundle to replenish the stock of the older brother, while a still younger child, scarcely able to toddle under his burden, carried a little armful from a heap of shingles on the ground to replenish the stook of the brother half-way up the ladder. All three wore helmets, that at one time did duty on adult heads, and the close inspection and presence of nearly twenty members of Parliament made no difference. They looked up for a moment with wondering eyes, but never paused for an instant in their work. The only member of the family who seemed uncomfortable was a child of four or five years old, who evinced a disposition to tears— despite the assurances given by Mr. McMaster that he should not be afraid. But the other children as 1 have said took no notice, and kept toiling away, poor little mites.

This brick cottage when finished will, I take it, be a comfortable little dwelling. But the slab or bark huts, or houses, are anything but uncomfortable. 1 only saw the interior of one, but if that was a fair sample it certainly bespoke evidence of much comfort. A sitting-room was very neatly fitted up. In the centre was a table, on which was a Bible, and few other well bound books. At the one side was a piano, and close by a couch. On the wall were a few nice prints, and the whole presented a neat, clean, tidy appearance. The vast majority of the villagers live in tents yet, but hope for the transference at an early date from canvas or calico to the more permanent ones of bark, wood, or brick. One man remarked that the sooner he and other settlers got out of their tents the better. Not long ago a storm played havoc with his tent, and drenched his wife and little ones to the bone.

True, they have to put up with privations, but they expect them, and so far as I could see from a visit of a few hours, and a talk with the majority, there is no grumbling. "Of course we have our little tiffs and difference of opinion," remarked one to Messrs. Dalrymple, Leahy, and Watson, " just like you gentlemen in Parliament, but we have no serious rows, and we are as good friends as ever after we have differed in opinion— just like you gentlemen seem to be outside the House— and we pull together well for the good of the group. Our 'tiffs' are small ones, and we have had no real disputes." Undoubtedly harmony seems to prevail.

One feature of the villagers struck me forcibly, and that was that although the majority of 160 souls, that is the women and children, were in and about their dwelling at the time of our visit— and twenty members of Parliament are not soon together over two hundred miles from Brisbane every day— there was no inordinate display of curiosity— no gaping, even from the children. The women bustled about attending to their household duties, and the men worked away at the forge, at the buildings, &c., until the Secretary called several of them together towards the termination of the visit.

When we turn from the dwelling to the field, we also find good progress made in the Mizpah settlement, although, perhaps, not to the comparative extent that some would like, of which more anon in connection with the Monmouth Group. But, whether it has been at building, fencing, or cultivating, certainly no one can say that the Mizpah settlers have been idle. Far from it indeed. Their buildings 1 have touched on, and their fences are really excellent— good, solid, plain, durable workmanship.

Tho Mizpahites formed their group on the 11th November of last year, and arrival on the settlement on December 15th, so that they have not been quite twelve months there. The main cultivation paddock lies over half-a-mile from the village. It contains over 20 acres, and, considering the fact that the soil is not too good, the maize, wheat, barley, &c., looked very well. There is far better land for cultivation in other parts of the settlement, and I remarked this to one of the man, and asked why they chose for their main cultivation paddock what was practically the poorest part of it?

"We arrived in December,” he said, " too late for the proper planting, but we did not want to miss the crop altogether, and, being in a hurry, we naturally took the part where there was the lightest timber to clear. We know, it's the poorest soil, but it was the easiest cleared at the time." There is not much pressure required to bury the spade in the light, sandy, soil. The wheat looks fairly well, and I found that the variety that did the best the Allora Spring and the Mummy (Egyptian), the former particularly so. To my mind the barley looks better than the wheat, and the maize also looks well. The wallabies, they told me, are a bad pest to contend with, and played havoc with the green crop on several occasions. They intend putting 30 acres under maize, and have 12 acres under it at present.

The orchard in one of the most interesting parts of the Settlement. It is well laid out, and systematically planted with 208 fruit trees, including most of the popular and best varieties. Over 3000 grape cuttings have been planted, and are doing well. In another portion of the Settlement a fair-sized plot of ground is under tobacco, and the leaf seems to do very well. "That is what we expect to get our first return from," said the Secretary. " I suppose this in the first time an attempt has been made to grow  tobacco in Chinchilla," remarked a visitor. " Oh no," replied the Secretary. " Some Chinamen grow it very well, and so did a white selector, but they gave it up— they only had small patches. But we intend going in for it properly," and as he spoke, he seemed hopeful of success. Let us hope he will not be disappointed. Somebody remarked that if their first return was to come from tobacco, they would have to wait a long time. "I mean the first good return," said the Secretary, "of some things, such as potatoes, and so on, we only intend to plant enough for the present to supply our own wants. The present prices of produce are not tempting enough to justify us in growing some things for sale." Few will dispute his conclusions in that respect.

As there has been no return from the soil so far capable of adding to the exchequer of the group, the inquiry naturally was made as to whether any of the members had done any outside work so as to assist in making ends meet. The Secretary afforded full information on this point, as, indeed, he did on any other we asked. Eight men had been away for four months. They were fencing on a station ; putting up a two-rail fence at £12 a mile. Some of the visitors opened their eyes widely. "Sounds cheap," said the Secretary, " but there was no morticing or anything of that sort. Simply tieing up, and they have not to get the stuff. In one case we took cattle in exchange for the work." Others got outside work at ringbarking, &c., and in each instance the cheques were given in to the joint exchequer for the group. "In some cases outside day labor does not pay," said the Secretary. " Some of our men have been offered only 10s. a week and rations, and at such a price it pays better to put their labor in our own land."

Turning from sources of revenue to expenditure, or the cost of living, some interesting information was forthcoming. As I stated the Secretary has an elaborate ration scale prepared in tabulated form which enables him to calculate with very little trouble the actual bare cost of living. His figures are, to put it mildly, astonishing. There are 160 souls in the Mizpah Group and the average cost per head per week comes to 1s. 4d. ! Just think of it — 1s. 4d.— per week. True they live plainly and have not many "extras" or " luxuries," but still the fact that it only takes 1s. 4d. par head per week to enable 160 human beings to live is significant, and indicates possibilities under the communal system.

There is no exaggeration about those figures. " You see," said the Secretary, " we get nearly everything at cost price; we purchase our own bullocks for killing at 25s. per head! They are poor stock certainly, but even as they are, they are a considerable saving." Certainly stook are low in price just now, but at the same time bullocks that only realise 25s. would scarcely come within the appellation of  “fats." But nothing is wasted, and they get more than the full value of the 25s. in the bullocks. Already a parcel of hides has been sent to Messrs. B. D. Morehead & Co., Brisbane, and a fair return is expected from these. As they do their own butchering there is no expense on that score, and also on many others, thereby enabling them to reduce the cost of living to the low rate they have done. There is no middle man's profit so to speak. There is room here for a multitude of interesting deductions. While on this subject of the cost of living we inquired whether there was any exception to the communal rule of joint ownership. It had already been explained to us that land, buildings, crops, stock, &c.. were the joint property of the group. " What about fowls ? " said someone. The Secretary smiled. "They are the exception," he said.

(The next section is not readable. )

The Mizpah settlement is very well watered. Charley's Creek water is on one side, and there are said to be several permanent water holes. At the same time I must say that in reality the settlement is not so well off for water as the foregoing would lead one to believe. The water is a good distance from the village, and has to be brought in carts or, I should say, casks ingeniously fitted on a sort of trolly. This fact restricts supply to some extent, and the inconvenience will not be removed until the people by-and-bye can afford to go in for some tanks. Of wells there are none, and it is very doubtful whether water could be obtained by sinking at anything like a reasonable depth. I heard of one instance where many years ago a well was sunk on this land, and water was struck at a considerable depth, but it was so brackish as to be unfit for use.

As I have said members of the Mizpah Group seem to work harmoniously together end so far have expended a great deal of energy in their settlement. Whether that energy has been altogether expended in the right direction is a matter of opinion. A visit of a few hours like we spent on Saturday can at best enable the visitor to form  an opinion on what is to a large extent " surface bases." To form a proper opinion one would  have to reside among them for some days and carefully note their system of working and management, and then one might form some idea as to the possibilities of the future.

Before leaving on Saturday morning the majority of the men assembled, and Mr. J. T. Bell, the member for the district, spoke a few words of encouragement and hope, in which he expressed his gratification at the progress they had made and the great probability of their proving the experiment of Communal Settlements to be a success. Tho Hon. J . R. Dickson also expressed his gratification at what he had seen, and cordially wished them every success. Mr. S. Grimes, speaking more in a practical agriculturist than as a member of Parliament, also spoke a few words of encouragement, and gave them some good advice. He did not think they had chosen the best part of the settlement for the purpose of cultivation, and he believed that they had land in their midst that would yield far better returns. They would have to work hard and surmount many obstacles before  achieving success. With better land than theirs, and under better conditions as regards location, farming under the present low prices was but a mere existence, but if they continued to work harmoniously together, and not put all their eggs in one basket success might be achieved despite the most formidable obstacles.

The Secretary (Mr. Fellows) in a few appropriate phrases acknowledged the good wishes of the visitors, and asserted they would do their best to make the experiment a success. He hoped at their next visit to be able to show better results, which would even satisfy a Minister of the Crown should he see fit to honor them with a visit. A quiet smile went around, as already considerable comment had been made at the absence of all the members of the Government. I heard one of the Mizpahites remark, " Where is Mr. Barlow to-day. One would think that the Minister for Lands at least might be here." Hence the Secretary's reminder.

The Secretary also mentioned that one of the most pressing wants of the settlement was a supply of medicine. They had no doctor, and if any of their members, particularly the women and children, were sick they might be put to an expense that their exchequer could ill afford. A supply of medicine would be a boon, and he thought the Government might do something for them in that matter.

One of the members of the group asked Mr. Dickson whether, if it was required, he would support a farther instalment of State aid to the settlement ? Mr. Dickson replied that each group would have to stand on its merit. The collective question was really one for the Government to consider.

I might mention that both Mr. Dickson and Mr. Grimes in their short addresses expressed their sense of indebtedness to Mr. Bell for the opportunity afforded them of visiting the settlement, and previous to our departure, hearty cheers were given by members of the group for Mr. Bell, who was evidently deservedly popular among them.

After leaving the Mizpah settlement we paid a necessarily very brief visit to the Monmouth Group, which is about a mile away from the other ; in fact, 1 might say we only drove through it. But what little we did see gave us an excellent opinion of its prospects, and for my part, I must confess that I like its appearance better than that of the Mizpah Group. It appears to me that the members of the Monmouth Group have put less labor into buildings, &c., in the village and more into the soil. They have only been there since the 13th February, and already they have an excellent show as regards crops. About 120 acres are under cultivation, including about 70 acres maize, 28 acres of wheat, and 10 acres of potatoes. All these crops look splendid, and the wheat particularly so. There are 35 members in the group, and about 105 souls altogether. Nearly all come from the neighborhood of Ipswich, and naturally the member for Rosewood was quickly recognised and made much of. By the by I may mention that Mr. Cribb brought up with him a number of Christmas gifts, including a large assortment of clothing and toys, &c., for the children of both the Monmouth and Mizpah Groups. Let me hope that others will follow the generous example of the member for Rosewood.

I should dearly like to have had the opportunity of spending as much time at least at the Monmouth Group as at the Mizpah one, and such was the opinion of the majority of the visitors. There is another group about 14 or 15 miles further down the line— namely, the Industrial Group, but this we had no opportunity of seeing. However, the Secretary and Director of the Group came up to Chinchilla with the party, and I was thereby enabled to glean a few particulars concerning their position. They number 38 members, of whom there are 25 on the ground, and the aggregate is 117 souls. They have been six months on the Settlement which, I am informed, is of excellent soil, and is well watered by the Condamine River and by Jinghi and another creek. Substantial improvements, including a splendid stockyard, have been erected. Particular attention is being directed to the erection of stout paling fences to keep out the wallabies, which arc very bad indeed.

About 50 acres are under cultivation, including maize, potatoes, wheat, oats, &c. There are eight acres under pumpkins and five under pannicum. But the Industrial Group intend working on entirely different lines to the other two Groups as regard sources of revenue. They believe it is better at the present time to grow dairy produce and bacon, instead of crops. Already they have between 60 and 70 head of stock and a large number of pigs, and only last week they purchased 14 pigs for brooding purposes. "We hand feed our stock," said the Secretary," and are going in for growing fodder for that purpose. We have great hopes of making money from the pig particularly. There is money in pigs." And he spoke the truth.

Tho management of the Industrial Group is also somewhat different to that of the Mizpah Group. Instead of a General Committee for all  there are five Sectional Committees— viz., Buildings, Stock, Agriculture, Timber getting, and Trades. Each is carefully selected from the men most skilled in the respective occupations, The cost of living per head per week is considerably under 2s.

Tho party returned to Chinchilla about one o'clock, in time for lunch. The return  drive was not devoid of incident. The occupants of three of the vehicles— viz., the drag containing about nine members, a spring cart containing about four, and an ordinary buggy containing two, and two Pressman, made a short cut, which brought them to a rather steep embankment of a creek. There were wheel tracks down it, but the water— about ten yards wide— was of unknown depth. The occupants of the drag looked, shook their heads, and departed back to find the more roundabout way. Not so the others. The member for Rosewood, who piloted the spring cart, was not to be intimidated by a steep embankment, or a sight of water. The other occupant of the vehicle crossed on a log lower down, but he valiantly drove the horse down and in. It was ' just touch and go’ — almost a swim for the horse, but encouraged by the stentorian tones of Mr. Cribb, he pulled through amid the cheers of the party. The Chairman of the Central Separation League followed, with the member for Normanby acting as a sort of patent break (sic) on the vehicle as it came down the embankment. The water flowed into the buggy, but Mr. Curtis pulled through allright. Result: Chinchilla reached long before the occupants of the drag arrived.

The special train left Chinchilla on the return journey at 2.20 p.m. A remarkably hot, dry, parching wind made the run home over the western downs anything  but comfortable, and it was a relief when Toowoomba was reached at 6.25 p.m. to feel the first cool breeze. Not much delay was made here, and within a few minutes the Parliamentary special followed the Sydney mail train on the downward journey.

To sum up the Chinchilla groups I may say , it is entirely too soon to pronounce a definite opinion yet as to their ultimate success or| failure.


(Another area where text is not readable.)


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Monday 26 November 1894, page 4

Group Settlements.

The gentlemen who formed the parliamentary party which a few days ago visited the two communal groups located near Chinchilla, were of at least three classes.

There were among them, those who from the beginning have regarded with distrust the experiment which was in a sense forced upon the country ; there were others among them into whose minds not the slightest distrust concerning the experiment had ever entered. It must in fairness be added here that the distrust and doubt were with those who know something of agriculture ; the assurance and freedom from distrust, with those who know nothing, or but little, of agriculture. The third class was formed by those who feel neither the distrust nor the assurance, but who are ready to praise success.

Mr. Bell's selection was so far certainly prudent. There is no room for doubt concerning the earnestness nor the harmony of the groupers. An admirable sentiment of unity prevails, and an equally admirable acceptance of necessary discipline. Mr. Fellows, the Mizpah secretary, with a touch of quiet humour, told the visitors that while in their meetings there are differences of opinion, as there are in Parliament, yet when they are out of meeting all differences are forgotten and they work shoulder to shoulder for the good of the community.

It may be noted at this point that a general communal meeting is hold at Mizpah once a fortnight ; and that the active management of affairs, under the instructions of the general meeting, is in the hands of a small executive. The women take no active part in the management, but if success should attend the experiment, and all who visited the groups on Saturday hope it will, the women will have played no unimportant part in the business. It was highly gratifying to find that in both groups the wives of the settlers are brave and hopeful. Carrying on their domestic duties under difficulties, and though cut off from the associations which to women are so dear, they not only did not utter any complaining word, but they accepted the position, evidently making the best of it. The children look healthy and happy, and certainly are better in the pure air of the Downs than they could be in the dirt and squalor of Brisbane.

In considering the prospects of the groups it has to be inquired if the land on which they are settled is fit for such settlement ; that is to say, is it fit in itself and is it fit in view of its relation to a market; and then if the settlers have made the best use of the land. Some of the land certainly is poor, but quite as certainly in neither case is the greater portion of the land poor. No words need be wasted in dealing with the question whether the founders of the groups were well and wisely directed. They are where they are, and no power could have forced them there against their will.

As to position in relation to a market, hundreds of other settlers, independent, uncontrolled, have fixed themselves on sites farther from large town markets than are these groups. The only thing to be attended to is that the men do not rest their hopes upon products which must have a speedy sale ; but rather on products which without injury may be kept for some time.

Have the settlers made the best use of their land ? No, say those who know. They have fallen into just those blunders into which they were certain to fall through lack of special farming knowledge, and lack also of instruction from those who have that knowledge. They have sown cereals where fruit trees should have been planted, and some land which looks as if it were specially put there for grape-growing, is not to that use devoted.

Those errors can be corrected ; but in such matters correction of errors means loss of time, and while time is passing the Government allowance is diminishing. There were probably few, if any, of the visitors who did not feel that if time were granted the groupers would make a living on the areas. They will have plenty of food, and surplus products with which to procure clothing and other necessaries, and some of the luxuries of life; and, with all those, freedom from many of the ills and anxieties which daily wait upon the dwellers in towns. It is, however, safe, to assume that further aid will  be required to enable the two  groups in question to reach success, although that further aid will probably not be large in extent.

It is not likely that the settlers in either of the groups will need a lawyer ; and if one of the requests urged on Saturday should receive prompt attention, doctors will not then be so much missed. A small selection of simple, common remedies, such as might be stowed in a very small case, should be at once supplied ; just such a case as is usually carried on small ships, together with a little companion book like Cox's "Guide to the Medicine Chest," and a simple book on surgery, such as South's, or one of the ambulance handbooks. If these were placed in the charge of the man or the woman who has the faculty for diagnosing and treating ailments, much good might be done.

What the ultimate result of these experiments may be it is not easy to forecast, so many elements go to the making of either failure or success. That absolute abandonment of the settlements will come to pass is unlikely. It is certain that amongst men of such varied character and qualifications, there are many who can never be made farmers. Of those, their enthusiasm waning, and work in town offering, a proportion may abandon their post. But a large proportion will remain in occupation, and will reap the advantages of the labour of the whole; and to that extent at least benefit will accrue to the country by a  permanent increase in the number of those who draw out the wealth of the soil.


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Tuesday 27 November 1894, page 7

THE MONMOUTH SETTLEMENT. To the editor of the Queensland Times. SIR,-In connection with the recent visit we have received from Ministers and members of the Legislature, will you kindly allow me space in your widely circulated paper to publicly thank, on behalf of this community, two gentlemen who have (not for the first time shown their practical sympathy with the scheme of village settlement in general, and this group in particular. I refer to Messrs. Lewis 'Thomas and J. C. Cribb, MM.L.A.

The former gentleman generously offered to send us free a truck of coal for the use of our blacksmith; while the latter kindly presented nous with a collection of toys and tins of lollies, &c., which he brought all the way from "Modern Athena" to gladden the hearts of our young people.

Permit me also to thank, through your columns, Mr. J. T. Bell, M.L.A., who, as member for the district, and as a true friend, has on all occasions been ready to assist us in every way, both in the Legislative Assembly and outside. The members of these groups have a hard battle to fight, and such kindly actions go much farther in the way of encouragement under their difficulties than the wholesale and, I may say, undeserved strictures passed upon them by certain members of Parliament and others.

Thanking you in anticipation, l am, sir, faithfully yours,

WILLIAM CHARLES, Secretary. Chinchilla, November 19.


Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934), Friday 28 December 1894, page 9

A correspondent writes: Some time  ago I wrote a letter to your paper describing  the poorness of the soil of the above group (Mizpah), at the same time pointing out the difficulties under which the members would have to contend.

Recently a Ministerial party went up to inspect the Mizpah Company, and gave a glowing account of the progress, &c., made by the unfortunate members. Now, facts are stubborn things, and in the above matters the facts still remain, that the land allotted to the people will  never become, from a farming point, a place from which the residents will be able to make the commonest of livings. It is all very well while improvements are required by the surrounding squatters, for the members of the Mizpah Group to go out and possibly get a share of the labour required, but under the existing difficulties with which pastoralists have to battle an end must come to all improvements, and then what will become of the people of the Mizpah and such-like groups ?

Some of the groups have cast their lines in pleasant and profitable places, but I contend the Mizpah is not one of the fortunates. As I suggested in my former letter, there are hundreds of thousands of acres of really good agricultural land suitable for farming within half the distance of Chinchilla, that might be allotted to such groups as the Mizpah, who are evidently a hardworking body, the Government will be lucky indeed if some of the groups are not like the Now Australians in Paraguay—thrown upon their hands for relief;


Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 - 1922), Wednesday 16 January 1895, page 5

The Village Settlements. How the Country Looks. :What it can Produce.

Station after station we pass, without stopping, until finally, we reach Chinchilla, where the train was timed to stop for lunch. A considerable number of the settlers round about had assembled to welcome the Premier. After lunch a visit was paid to the Travelling Dairy, which under Mr. Mahon is being utilised for the instruction of the young people of this district. The plant is located in Mr. Hogg's hall, and at the time of our visit fifteen pupils were under instruction, the majority of  them being from the Mizpah and Monmouth settlements situated from two and a-half to three miles out of the township.

The cheesemaking for the day had just been completed, and an instruction lesson was being given on butter-working. The members of the party watched the operations with very much interest, and Mr Mahon courteously supplied all information required by any member of the party. It was at first contemplated that a visit should be paid the village settlement group, but time did not permit and by three o'clock we were on our way to Miles. 


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908), Tuesday 12 February 1895, page 4

Some days ago Mr. J.T. Bell, M.L.A., forwarded to Professor Shelton samples of food products grown by the Monmouth group at Chinchilla. They were duly examined by the State Instructor who has reported upon them as follows :-"

Returning to the office this morning, I find on my table two packages containing wheat, and the product of wheat, viz;, bran, pollard etc., together with your note of January 24th. The wheat is really excellent. I do not remember to have seen any better in quality than this at the shows that I have visited this year. Such wheat will make the very best of flour, as the samples accompanying the wheat show."

 It is encouraging to find that the settlers at Chinchilla are able to turn out , such good bread-stuff.  (Dalby Herald. )


Warwick Examiner and Times (Qld. : 1867 - 1919), Wednesday 6 March 1895, page 2

The Travelling Dairy, under the direction of Mr. Mahon, which during the last four or five weeks, has been doing good work at Jondowie, has gone to the neighbourhood of Warra. The Industrial group of settlers is almost alongside of the dairy, and no doubt that body of workers will benefit from the instruction which Mr. Mahon will impart. The future movements of the dairy are not fixed, but unless fresh applications are made for its services, it is on the tapis to remove to Mitchell.

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