Page:Canterbury Papers.djvu/35

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27
CANTERBURY DISTRICT.

couple who came out from Scotland with us now manage a dairy of our cattle at Port Cooper; previous to emigrating, they were engaged as farm-servants in Ayrshire, where a very superior lot of the celebrated Ayrshire cattle were kept; and they assure ns that they make a larger quantity of butter and cheese during the year than they did at home from the same quantity of cows, and the quality is quite as good. The percentage of lambs to ewes we had this season was about 105 per cent. The sheep we have are small and fine-wooled—weight of wethers above 60 lbs.—the weight of wool on ewes, 3½1bs. The fleeces of our rams, which are pure merinos, averaged, this clip, 6¼lbs., and one of the fleeces weighed 7½1bs. We may mention that the natural pasturage here will feed to perfection the largest breed of sheep. We have at present about 150 cattle, 1000 sheep, and ten horses.

7th. 'At what price would you supply beef and mutton, and probable monthly supply?'

We could supply beef and mutton at 5d. per lb, and pork at 4d. at present, but not to any extent. With our own stock, and what we could procure otherwise, we would be able to supply your survey party on the plain with about one ton per month. We anticipate that the prices would exceed these sums on the arrival of a large party of settlers from England, but only for a short time, as supplies would quickly pour in from the neighbouring colonies and the other settlements in New Zealand.

8th. 'What price have you paid for timber, and opinion as to price in case a large quantity were advertised for.'

Sawn timber can now be got for 10s. or 12s. the 100 feet. There being only a small population here at present, we are unable to say at what price a large contract would be taken.

9th. 'As to bricks—clay for making ditto; lime, limestone, and building-stone.'

There is plenty of brick clay in the neighbourhood, limestone is not distant; and there are masses of a stone more nearly resembling freestone than any we have previously seen in the hills surrounding Port Cooper.

10th. 'What per ton did flour and other provisions cost on first establishing your station, and what now?'

On first coming here, flour cost us about 251. per ton. Irish salt pork about 6l. per cask of 200 lbs. Tea, 2s. per lb.; and sugar 4d. to 5d. per lb. Noww’, flour can be bought here from 16l. to 18l. No salted provisions are used, and tea and sugar are still about the same price.

We believe that you have satisfied yourself that the making of a good road between Port Cooper and the Waimakariri is not only perfectly practicable, but can be made with the greatest facility; and that not only can the river itself be crossed by ferries, but that it is perfectly practicable and easy to make a bridge across it at an inconsiderable expense. We are certain that in no part of the New Zealand Company's territories can roads be made in every direction with such facility as they can on this plain; and that now in its natural state, there is no difficulty in traversing it in every directing with bullock drays.

The system of fencing which would be generally in use here would be by ditch and embankment, similar to what you have seen at our station, of which a good labourer would do at least two rods a day. Furze or hawthorn might be planted on the top of the embankment, and thus a good fence, which would last for centuries, might be easily made. We believe that this sort of fence would not cost more at first than one of post and rail, even where timber abounded; and from the perishable nature of the generality of New Zealand timber, it would certainly be the most economical in the end. Colonel Wakefield must have been misinformed as to the quantity of timber is this district, for we believe that there is at least an equal quantity here to what there is at Otago; but as you have now seen both districts, you can form a correct judgment as to this. It would certainly be desirable if there was more wood on the plain than there is, but we consider that it is much better as it is than if it had been so thickly timbered as the generality of bush land in New Zealand, for we are certain that to cultivate such land would never pay. A settler would do better to import coals from Newcastle, in