Monthly meeting of above held on Thursday, 11th inst. Present: Messrs. W. Cameron (Chairman), R. Greer, T. H. Fleming, A. A. McDonald, and H. L. White, also the Stock Inspector (Mr. Canure Brooks) and Secretary (Mr. C. R. Lukey). Apologies were received from Messrs. Ben. Cumming and G. K. Clift.
Re rabbits, the Stock Inspector reported that since last meeting the Rabbit Inspector had been working in the following localities, namely. Moonan, Glenmore, Hunter's Vale, Sempill's Creek, Ellerston, Puddledock, Glen Vale, Dartbrook, Nandewra, Rocklands and Turanville. At Moonan, all the runs inspected had been poisoned some time back with excellent results, but in many cases he found the work had been neglected since and the old burrows were being reopened and rabbits were again increasing on a number of runs. Some of the owners had commenced work again, others pro-raising to do so at once. On Glenmore, some poisoning, shooting, and trapping had been done, but rabbits were increasing slightly on Sempill's Creek. A small increase was noted on Ellerston on the country inspected. Rabbiters were being constantly employed, besides the work done by station hands. Some 1680 rabbits had been accounted for since last inspection. On Hunter's Vale, we found rabbits had been somewhat neglected, and an increase was noted in some of the paddocks. The owner complained of the difficulty in getting labor, and having ordered a poison cart, promised to poison the run as far as possible at once. On Puddledock and Glen Vale a slight increase was reported, work having been neglected of late; but the management had promised to do more. As a result of the inspection of four other runs, prosecutions in each case was recommended, in one of which the Rabbit Inspector asked that the maximum penalty be pressed for, or that sections 62 and 63 of the P.P. Act be put into operation. (The Act provides that the Board may make application to the Court to engage men to clear properties of rabbits at the expense of the owners, the work being supervised by the Board's officials).
A petition, signed by J. H. Crosthwaite, C. F. Garnsey, G. C. H. Day, R. Beale, G. W. Fuller, D. Douglas, W. F. Kelly and J. H. Taylor, all Blairmore farmers, set out that they were reluctantly compelled to ask that the Board give the matter of rabbit extermination on land adjoining their farms the fullest consideration, owing to the manner in which the work was being carried out. The petitioners asked that their complaint be fully investigated, feeling confident that when the whole circumstances were laid before the Board more drastic measures would be taken in order to protect them from the never ceasing work of destroying vermin bred elsewhere, and which latterly had been invading them.
Mr. Fleming said the Board should take no notice of the petition, which as much as stated that the Board was neglecting its duty.
The Chairman said that the ratepayers were quite within their rights in forwarding the petition.
Mr. Fleming reiterated that no notice should be taken of it.
Mr. McDonald said he didn't agree with Mr. Fleming, seeing that the petition was signed.
The Chairman contended that the petition should receive every consideration.
Mr. Greer said he was adverse to passing the letter over. It was a legitimate complaint, and the ratepayers in question were quite justified in making it. He was personally situated just the same as the Blairmore farmers were with regard to his property in the Tamworth district, and felt that he was privileged to write that Board.
The report of the Stock Inspector was, on the motion of Messrs. McDonald and Greer, adopted.
Mr. White then moved that the Blairmore petitioners be informed that while not agreeing with the complaint as to the Board neglecting its duty in enforcing the Act relative to the destruction of rabbits, it has decided to take drastic action against some of the adjoining landowners, and will continue to do so when it considers that such action is justified.
Seconded by Mr. Greer and carried .
Other correspondence included:— From the Rabbit Inspector, report upon recent prosecutions against two holders for failing to destroy rabbits.
From Mr. G. M. Westgarth, solicitor, re same cases.
From same, re case Brooks v. Flynn, in which case the Board made reference to his costs, and stating that it was evident to him that the Board did not appreciate the work involved, as he felt sure if they did they would not have passed the resolution, a copy of which he had received; also forwarding memorandum of costs in the case in question.
Carried, on the motion of Messrs. Fleming and McDonald, that Mr. Westgarth be informed that the Board considers his explanation satisfactory.
From same, memo of costs in Supreme Court and High Court cases Brooks v. Kenneth Kennedy and Brooks v. John Kennedy; the cases, including that given against the Board in the Supreme Court, running it into £74.
From the Stock Inspector, reporting having, on 8th inst., accompanied an entomologist from the Department of Agriculture over certain parts of the district investigating the grasshopper pest, the latter asking to be advised at once as soon as the young hoppers put in an appearance again.
It was carried, on the motion of Messrs. White and McDonald, that a notice be inserted in the local Press asking landholders to notify the Inspector at the first appearance of the young hoppers next season.
From same, reporting that the crossing place for stock at the Gundy bridge had been fixed up satisfactorily.
From same, reporting re rabbits on unoccupied Crown lands and streets within the village of Macqueen, and suggesting certain action.
Carried, on the motion of Messrs. White and McDonald, that with a view of keeping the rabbits in check, the Department of Lands be asked lo place Hunter Terrace and the unoccupied lands within the village of Macqueen under some from of tenure, a clause of which would compel the lessee to destroy rabbits, and noxious weeds.
From same, re conference of Inspectors of Stock and P.P. Board officials, recently held in Sydney, which he attended, and giving as his opinion that the move appeared to be a good one and likely to be one of great benefit, not only to the officials attending, but through them to the Boards and the ratepayers. The Inspector mentioned in his report that several interesting and instructive lectures were delivered.
From the Inspector, re poisoning rabbits on Gundy reserve, the result of which being that the Rabbit Inspector, on his recent inspection, reported that 85 per cent. of the rabbits had been destroyed; and suggesting that the trustees of the Common, also the Gundy cemetery, be asked to carry out the next poisoning simultaneously.
The suggestion was adopted.
From the Secretary, reporting that Messrs. H. L. White, T. H. Fleming, B. Cumning, and W. Greer retire owing to affluxion of time in May next, and stating that it would be necessary to make arrangements for an election.
Carried, that May 1 be nomination day in connection with the forthcoming election.
At the instance of Mr. Fleming, it was resolved to give further consideration to the motion of purchasing a poison cart to be placed at the disposal of smaller holders.
It was resolved to sue for the recovery of all rates outstanding on 1st May.