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Unknown Crown Lands

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Thursday 4 August 1910, The Sydney Morning Herald

The letter of a correspondent in our “On the Land” columns to-day calls attention to the existence of good quality but apparently little-known Crown land. It lies in the vicinity of Tyringham, between Dorrigo and Armidale, tempts discussion of an old subject. That is, the supply of Crown lands which are available for settlement if intending settlers only knew where to look for them. We do not suggest that the Minister for Lands should go out into the highways and byways with a bell, calling out full and illuminating particulars of every area of land his department stands ready to dispose of; but nevertheless we do think that some improvement might be made on the department’s methods of securing publicity. We admit that there has been improvement of late years in this respect, and are aware that particulars are regularly published of areas available for settlement. These are posted in public places in most centres of population. To anyone with a gift for comprehending the abstract, the department’s land bulletins doubtless will afford a considerable amount of information. But, unfortunately, everybody who wants land is not so gifted, and as a consequence the official posters do not reach their public. Thus, while the information may be made available, it is not presented in a form which those who run may read. The department, in short, does not seem to understand the psychology of advertising. Take as an example the locality to which our correspondent makes reference. Doubtless this has been noted in some of the official posters, but not in such a way as to catch the attention of the reader and present to his mind something like a concrete idea of the land and the district.

A private agent with land to sell would not have contented himself with essential figures of areas and distances, and the class of soil and timber, but would have laid emphasis on the existence of a cheese factory and a school, would have mentioned the contiguity to the Dorrigo and Guy Fawkes, and probably have introduced a good deal of local colour – in short, he would have aimed at such a description as would at once inform and impress the reader of his advertisement. It might be undesirable that the department should emulate the imaginative quality of some of the advertising which is to the credit of private land dealers, but without taking oven the smallest liberty with the facts we think it should be possible to speak to more purpose. In many parts of the coastal division – in the Upper Richmond and Clarence districts in particular – excellent Crown land has been, and still is, open for settlement, but has not been sought after to the extent that it might, because of the failure of the department to give it a realistic advertisement. Again, up on the plateau stretching away from Gosford to near Wollombi is an area of some 150,000 acres of Crown land which, though uninviting to the eye, has been proved by experience to be very valuable for certain varieties of fruit, and which, if opened up by the short line of railway which has been so freely discussed by correspondents recently, would support a very considerable population. But the departmental information about it is dead. The instances could be multiplied manifold. Without a doubt the Lands Department should put a little more life into its methods in this respect.

Written by macalba

August 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm

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