THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE last week told the Conference of the Institute of Stock Inspectors that he intended to abolish the Pastures Protection Boards of the State as soon as opportunity offered; that a Bill to achieve this objective had already been prepared under his direction, but that it had been forced aside by other pressing land measures. Mr. Dunn went on to assure the gathering that he would pass the Bill into law next session. The stock inspectors were informed that their responsibilities would then be greater and that they would be regarded as the administrative posts in their respective districts. The Minister concluded his address, according to the reports in the metropolitan papers, by saying that "we" (meaning himself and the stock inspectors) "shall be able to administer the pastures protection districts with equal efficiency, and with far greater impartiality."
Apparently there is a real demand in some part of the State, and by some persons who have the ear of the Minister, for the abolition of the P.P. Boards. Otherwise the Minister would not be so emphatic. It has been an open secret for years that the stock inspectors, as a body, wish to work wholly under a departmental head; instead of partly under a departmental head, and partly under the direction of the Boards, as they do at present. But there must have been a greater presentation of the case for abolition put before the Minister, than the interests, or supposed interests, of a few stock inspectors. Mr. Dunn is one of , the ablest and most astute Ministers in the Cabinet, and he would not have committed himself to such an unequivocal statement of his intentions, unless he were convinced that there was a real demand on the part of the landholders in some district or districts, that the P.P. Boards must go. We confess we do not know in which of the districts of the State the dissatisfaction is, unless it is the costal districts. No Act is unanimously acclaimed, especially if it is a taxing Act, and it would be unreasonable to suppose that the P.P. Act is without opponents. But on the whole, in the districts where there are pastures to protect, the Act has been responsible for good work, and is approved by the occupiers of the grazing and agriculturral lands. We do not think there is any widespread desire to see it abolished or to see the Boards wiped out of existence. We do not know enough of the holdings in the Eastern Division to be able to say that the Act is of value there, but in the Central and Western Divisions, the Act is beneficial to the industrious landholder. If it is not required in the Eastern Division, it would be a very simple matter to pass an Act withdrawing that part of the State from the operations of the P.P. Act, just as the Western Division is exempt from the operations of the Local Government Act. Because the holders in some one or two districts are agitating for the wiping out of the Boards, either because they do not wish to pay P.P. Board rates, or because they want a free hand with their rabbits, does not constitute a sufficient, or a fair, reason for the sweeping of the Boards off the map of the State. We think the proposals of the various associations that a vote of the landholders in each Division should be taken and their wishes ascertained before the present position is altered, has a great deal to commend it. The Boards have run the gamut of a good deal of criticism during the long time they, and their predecessors, have been functioning on behalf of the graziers of the State, and the onus of proof that they are not wanted, should surely rest with those who are demanding their abolition. We hope the Minister will remember that satisfied persons are not always expressing their acquiescence. They accept the existing conditions and are content to assume that they will remain. It is the dissatisfied ones who make a fuss, and can create a stir altogether out of proportion to the merits of their claims, or to their own numbers compared, with those who are satisfied for matters to remain as they are. In justice to himself, as the administrator of the Act, the Minister should satisfy himself of the views of the whole body of landholders, before he takes such a drastic step in their supposed interests. That is, presuming the Minister is of opinion that the landholders wish to be relieved of the Boards. We regard the Boards as a union of the holders of grazing and agricultural lands, formed under the aegis of the Legislature, for the protection of the pastures and stock routes of the State. We believe they are carrying out their duties well, and, in Riverina, impartially. We have no reason to believe they are not carrying out their duties impartially all over the State, although the Minister hints that some of them are not doing so. It appears to us to be wholly a land holders' matter, and that the Minister should not intervene unless he is sure of his ground. As a matter of fact, the P.P. Boards are administered with less cost to the State than any of the Boards the Government control, or partially control. The P.P. Board rates not only pay all the salaries of the Board's officers, but they pay for the salaries of the stock inspectors, and the Boards contribute 3 per cent, of their gross revenue to the upkeep of the Stock Department. We know of no reason why the Government should sacrifice that financial assistance in the administration of the Stock Department, and we hope it will not lightly do so. So far as this district is concerned, there is no dissatisfaction with the P.P. Act, or its administration, and we believe the same thing may be said or most pastoral districts. It may be difficult to frame an Act for the interests of the landholders which will be suitable to the whole of a State so vast as New South Wales, and possessing such a variety of lands, held under such a variety of conditions, but at least it can be urged that the interests of the many should not be sacrificed to the agitation of the few. This, latter appears to be what is happening in the proposed extinction of the Boards of the State, composed of representative graziers in each district, and having behind them such a record of splendid achievement.
This issue of "the Grazier" although dated Tuesday, 19th, for purpose of uniformity, is being published on Wednesday, 20th.
Horseowners and trainers are reminded that nominations for the Balranald Racing Club's meeting close on Thursday, 21st.
The Hay Municipal Council met last night, and disposed of a quantity of routine matter. Mr G. M. Richards was present and made a verbal application for an extension of two days' time for the completion of the electric street lamps. The contractor explained that he had hoped to be able to turn on the current to the street lamps on the 29th April, but he had been held for a piece of his machinery by the holidays. He still hoped to be able to turn on the lights by the 29th April, but, in case he could not do so, he asked for a couple of days extension, which would mean that on the 3rd May, at latest, the street lamps would be burning. The Council compiled with the request. Mr Richards also dealt with a matter concerning private installations. A fuller report of what took place will appear next issue.
One of the best-known men in Victoria Mr. Alexander McKinley, died at his home, Malvern, on Monday, at the, advanced age of 79 years. Mr. McKinley was the owner and controller of Melbourne Punch from 1872 to 1921, and for some time sat in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. Heren's Court, when it was established was the first president of the Child 20 years ago. He continued an active member of the court up to the beginning of this year. Mrs. Kitchen, wife of the Archdeacon of Hay, is one of the deceased gentleman's two children, his widow also survives him.
Before the P.M., at the Court of Petty Sessions, on Tuesday, Karl Henry Engh (34) was charged for that at Hay, on the 16th April, he did steal a cheque valued at £8/10/2 from the person of Thomas Henry Wilcox. The defendant pleaded not guilty. Inspector O'Neil applied for a remand for eight days, to which defendant made no objection. The remand was granted. Bail was not applied for.
Two men, Patrick Fletcher (48), and Patrick O'Brien (34) were brought before the P.M., on Easter Monday, charged for that on the 16th inst., at Booroorban they I did break and enter the dwelling-house of Edmund Brown, at Booroorban, and then in the said dwelling-house, did steal two bottles, of whisky and three, bottles of wine of the value of £3/18/0; the property of Edmund Brown. On the application of Inspector O'Neill, the defendants were remanded for eight days for the production of evidence. Bail was not applied for.
Today's forecast: Cloudy and unsettled, with further showers on coast and tablelands; otherwise mostly fine; cold night with some frosts inland; south-west to south-east winds, fresh to strong on coast, but gradually moderating.
Horse-owners and trainers, are being well catered for by the Oxley, Hay, and Carrathool Jockey Clubs, whose programmes are advertised. The first meeting is that of Oxley, which takes place on 11th May. Six races are provided, including two for approved hacks. The entries close for the principal events on Wednesday, 27th; the entries for the hack races may be made at the post. The Hay programme provides for a two days' meeting, and is framed on the lines which have proved successful in recent years. Mr Geo. C. McCracken is making his debut as secretary at the meeting, and may be depended on to give owners and the public every facility. Entires close on the 14th May and the races will take place on the 25th and 26th May. The Carrathool Club will race on 1st June, and is looking forward to a big gathering. Mr. W. E. Turnley is secretary. The programme is an attractive one, and as the meeting follows at a convenient time after the Hay races, a good entry should result. Entries close on 25th May.
Keep your evenings free, May 8th to 15th, for the Mission at the Pro Cathedral.
The annual picnic for the children of the Church of England, Hay, was held at the Island Bend, on Easter Monday. All the children attending the Kindergarten and the Catechism were invited, as well as the choir boys and servers. There were about a hundred of them present, and they all had a very happy and enjoyable time. A number of past scholars of the Catechism also attended, and a few adults were there assisting in the work which was necessary. Mrs. Garvin organised the meals, and Arch-deacon Kitchen was in charge of the transport, which was done by volunteer cars and one large truck, with the help of a few hired cars. The children spent the day in games of all sorts on the sand and in the water, ending up with a series of races and skipping and jumping competitions, which were all well contested. After tea, Mrs. Garvin presented the prizes which had been won. The whole of the arrangements were carried out without a hitch. Mr. Pierson very kindly provided his motor lorry, which carried the provisions and a very noisy crowd of children.
On Easter Monday, before the P.M., at the Court of Petty Sessions, Henry McNamara was charged with being drunk, and with behaving in an indecent manner. The defendant pleaded guilty to each charge, and was fined 7/6 and £2 respectively.
Mr. Eric Harnett Crisp, storekeeper, of Ivanhoe; and Mr. Frank Daniels, of the E. S. and A. Bank, Ltd., Ivanhoe, have been appointed Justices of the Peace.
An auction sale of Crown lands will be held at Hay, on Wednesday, 18th May, at the Lands Office. The lots to be offered are portion 76 of 110¾ acres, and portion 77 of 20 acres 2 roods; 20 perches, situated in the parish of Eli Elway, county Waradgery, seven miles from Hay. The upset price of portion 76 is £144 and of portion 77, £27.
At the Court of Petty Sessions, before the P.M., on Monday, Lewis Miller was charged with being drunk and on a second charge with behaving in an indecent manner. The defendant pleaded guilty to each of the charges and was fined 10s and 40s respectively, in default, fourteen days' imprisonment. On a further charge of making use of indecent language, the defendant also pleaded guilty, and was fined £5 or a month's imprisonment.