[From our own Correspondent.]
Wednesday evening, July 28.
I understand that Mr. Smith, late of the Burra, and now of the Mintaro Hotel, intends immediately to erect a steam flour-mill on some land recently purchased by him adjoining the hotel. The building, if erected according to the plan submitted to me, will include within the walls an area of about 800 superficial feet, and will be carried up to about two feet above the surface with stone; from thence the walls will be composed of bricks, which are being made from what is pronounced to be excellent brick-earth, which is obtainable in any quantity on the spot. The building will be two storeys in height, with engine and boiler-house detached, of which, with their appurtenances, I shall more particularly speak in a future issue.
Mr. Smith has also purchased, for £775, the paddock containing the famous slate quarry in the vicinity of the Company’s farm, lately the property of Mr. P. Brady. The quarry is at present hired by Mr. Priest (whose term will expire in a few months) at a rental of £20 per annum. Mr. Priest, during his occupation, has succeeded in extracting a great quantity of very valuable slabs from the quarry, some of which have had surfaces of nearly 100 square feet. At the expiration of Mr. Priest’s occupancy, I believe it is the intention of Mr. Smith to work the quarry upon a much larger scale—a determination which would seem to be amply justified by the increased and increasing demand for the slabs, which are being rapidly adopted in the district for all sorts of utilitarian purposes.
I also hear that Mr. Smith intends upon securing proper accommodation to establish a brewery in the township.
The stone for the erection of a pretty cupola upon the roof of the Wesleyan Chapel at Mintaro is being prepared, which, when complete, is intended to receive a suitable bell. It is a matter of regret, for the sake of the picturesque, that the windows of this chapel were not built of a different form, as their formal squareness will but ill consort with any decoration which the building may subsequently undergo.
When the inhabitants of a new and thinly-peopled country find time and means for the improvement and embellishment of their dwellings, it is clear that they have to a great extent mastered the multifarious difficulties incidental to their first settlement. He who, from its source near Mintaro, follows the course of the Wakefield through the districts of Clare and Upper Wakefield will not fail to recognise a striking exemplification of this fact in the many well-designed, well-built, and comfortable residences with which those localities abound. Mintaro in this respect is by no means in arrear, substantial improvements presenting themselves on every side in and about it; and were it otherwise, its character would be more than redeemed by the handsome structure now in course of erection there belonging to the Messrs. Bowman.
Mintaro at present is impassable; for, be the fault whose it may, its streets present a series of yawning, unbridged chasms and quagmires, beset with a imminent danger to the traveller from whatever point he approaches. The blame, I think, can scarcely attach in fairness to the District Council, whose ardour in this direction (the present year excepted) has been, year after year, condensed by the chilling munificence of a farthing rate. The attention of the Central Road Board should be called to the state of the bridge over the creek in the main road of the township, which appears to me to be in an unsound and dangerous condition, the logs of which the bridge is composed having yielded in the centre, and apparently threatening a disruption at no very distant day. The old bridge was erected some years ago by subscription of the inhabitants of Mintaro, since which nothing had been done to it by the Board.
I observe that the surveyor’s chain has been passed up Wockie Creek to a point about three miles north-east of Mintaro. Query—Will the Government make any reserve along the Flat, in view of the contingency of a future railway to the Burra?
On Thursday, the 22nd instant, a meeting of the Committee of the Northern Agricultural Society was held at Watervale, when the 16th September next was appointed for the Society’s next exhibition of live stock, which will be held in the township. A liberal prize list has been prepared, which will shortly appear in your advertising columns.
We have had some English drizzly and thorough soaking showers since my last, with intervals of brighter weather.