Rosewood History

Sugar cane harvest at Marburg Sugar Mill. (State Library Qld)
Postcard made by the Queensland Government to promote Queensland at the Fronco-British Exhibition, 1908.
“1,728,789 tons of sugar-cane were grown in Queensland during 1906.”

The Sugar Industry 1894

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday, 19 May 1894, page 5

The extension of the sugar industry in many centres in the Rosewood electorate is progressing slowly but surely. During Wednesday and Thursday of this week a representative from this journal made rapid tour through the district of Tallegalla, Minden, Marburg, and Kirchheim in order to ascertain whether any advancement towards the further development of this wealth-producing industry had taken place during the past eight or nine months. It will he remembered that, about the period named, an agitation was raised for the extension of the industry in the district of West Moreton and other places, and several large and enthusiastic meetings were held throughout the district. Though many people have repeatedly expressed the opinion that very little towards the desired end resulted as the outcome of such agitation, anyone who visited the places enumerated above will, on making inquiries, find that, although the chief object was not achieved, much good has been done, inasmuch as discussion has had the effect of inducing many farmers who had previously no intention of so doing to plant small areas of cane on suitable land. This has been done principally with the object of securing an abundant supply of plants should there be any prospect of a mill or mills being erected in the different centres. Such cultivation will also dissipate the erroneous idea that cane cannot be grown profitably-an idea which lingers in the minds of a few pessimistic individuals. In every ease where cane has been planted in any of the four districts visited it has grown luxuriantly, as, in fact, it has done on a small scale for some years past. In this article it is not intended to particularise the whole of the farms on which cane is being successfully grown, as that would be almost an invidious and impossible task considering the short time at our representative’s disposal. Suffice it to say that the sugar-cane is being grown in small patches on nearly every farm where the land is suitable, and that the farmers are thus preparing to place an extensive area under crop should there be the slightest chance of speculators being induced to put up mills. The first section to receive attention was 

That cane will grow prolifically and in large quantities on the homesteads with in this centre has been time and again demonstrated, and the beautiful green patches now noticeable among the withered corn fields is indeed a pleasant sight to see. The first farm met with on the main Rosewood-road is that of Mr. Charles Freeman, who, when the “sugar agitation” was at its height last year planted about half an acre, and the cane now stands several feet high. His brother (Mr. John Freeman) did likewise, both having en eye to securing a fair supply of plants for this or the succeeding year. 

Next there is Mr. James Ponting’s acre or more of cane which was planted last October. The cultivation of this quantity will not end in loss-though there is no mill at which to crush it-for the proprietor states that the cane will be used for horse feed, it being a good nutrient for farm horses. Mr. Ponting considers that, though it may not grow so bulkily in this quarter as on the coast, the density is much higher than in that gown nearer the sea. At the rear of his farm Mr. F. Eitle has a nice pice of cane. On the eastern side are the farms of Messrs. W. Arndt. D. T. Keogh. -, Buntock, Schemming, and others, all of which have areas of the product growing luxuriantly. Then there in the holding of Mr. M. Goose who also cultivates the saccharine plant, and immediately past the school is one of the best all-round farms in the district, owned and occupied by Mr. A. Kleve. He was, at the time our reporter reached the homestead, harvesting a large crop of exceptionally fine maize. Last November he set about an acre of sugar plants, and now some of the sticks are 4ft. and 5ft. high without reckoning the leaves at the top. Close by is Mr. W. Kapernick’s property. For some years pant he has grown a small portion of cane, and, when the neighbouring farmers desired to commence sugar operations last year, he supplied a number of them with plants. Among, others who have fair sized pieces of healthy looking cane are Messrs. X. Oberle, W. H. Austin, Alfred Embrey (who has, besides on older patch, half-an-acre which was planted in November of last year), Richard Embrey, C. F. W. Muller, and C. Rankie. 

In course of conversation with the farmers, many of them said, “The cane will grow well, and the farmers are willing to grow it; we are putting in small quantities so as to provide plants to increase the acreage if a mill is erected.” This must be gratifying news to those who have the extension of a profitable an industry at heart, and it should be patent to all, that, as the farmers are prepared to cultivate the cane extensively, there should not he much difficulty in getting the necessary machinery brought into the district.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday, 19 May 1894, page 5

 A was the case with Tallegalla, the farmers here who previously had small areas under cane have increased them in many instances, while several others have put in what may be termed “preliminary plantings.” Some of the farms show as many as three acres of cane, and, when all the homesteads on which it is grown are taken into calculation, there must be a large area under cane cultivation. The Minden-road is lined on either side with farms, some of which run back a good distance. The owners who have cane growing are numerous, and among them may be mentioned Messrs. J. Houshell, B. Meisner, J. Neundorff, sen., J. Neundorff, jnr., P. Jorgenson, A. Blissner, -. Kanofski, A. Kerle, -. Newmann, F. Kitzelman, W. Klouke, J. Wienk, G. and R Deising, C. Kapernick., F. Stieler, A. Baehm, -. Schedwell, A. Heiser, W. Strasberg, W. F. Müller, Just Kurt, August Smith, G. Dovie, J. Hermann, W. Behdun, P. Wiesemann, John Müller, O. Stumpke, H. Nymann, H. Sippel, -. Maloske, W. Piper, and -. Lehmann, the acreage ranging from half an acre to three acres. There appeared to be some little difference of opinion as to the most suitable place for the erection of a mill to accommodate both the farmers of Minden and Tallegalla. It is said by those in a position to know that it would be impossible to convey the produce along the the valley in Midden up to Tallegalla at a profit, while some of the farmers of the latter place consider that it would not pay them to cart the cane to a mill in Minden. This obstacle should be easily overcome were a mill to be erected, as it most be considered a very small difficulty compared with that of obtaining a mill. It is contended that enough cane could he grown in the two places to fully employ two mills-in fact, competent judges are confident of each being the case-though, from appearances at present, it will be some time before the farmers will be able to boast of having a mill at each township, so it would be to their advantage to put forth strenuous endeavour to procure one in a central place at first, and then, as the industry advances, secure the establishment of a second. 

The journey from Minden to Marburg is one which affords considerable interest and pleasure to the traveller. The scenery, as viewed from the tops of the hills, is indeed enchanting, as all the surrounding elevations are dotted here and there with snug farmers’ houses and green patches of sugarcane, and an itinerant photographer taking that route should find plenty of material to occupy his attention for some time. 

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday, 19 May 1894, page 5

MARBURG ITEMS. Marburg has long been noted as being the centre of the sugar industry so far as the Rosewood electorate is concerned, and at the present time there is a large area of cane in and around this township. Having a mill right in the midst of the place at which an outlet could be obtained for at least a portion of the cane grown the farmers have and at Kirchheim have been encouraged to go into the industry much more freely than at either Minden or Tallegalla. The Woodlands Plantation, owned and worked by Mr. T. L. Smith, is now a pleasant sight to see, as the large fields are literally covered with the crop of cane to be utilised next crushing. In course of conversation with Mr. Smith, he stated that the agitation raised last year certainly did some good, as several persons in Marburg and Kirchheim had planted the cane, and intend to increase the acreage by next season. He expects to start crushing in the latter part of July or the beginning of August, but the commencement of operations will greatly depend on the weather. So far as can he judged at present, it is believed that 600 tons of sugar will be made during the crushing. Besides that grown for the plantation, the farmers’ cane will be purchased so far as the mill capacity will permit of its being utilised, and arrangements to this effect have been completed with many of the growers. The whole of the cane cultivated in future by the farmers, may, however, not be bought, as the district could produce much more than the machinery at Mr. Smith’s disposal could work. There are at present about 300 acres under cane on the Woodlands Plantation, the area being increased every year just as time allows. With his own supply and that produced by outside farmers, Mr. Smith said that be expected to see much more cane grown in the district than he will he able to crush, though we have every reason to believe that the machinery will be added to ere long. Mr. Smith grows the Rappoe variety, which he says is almost universally grown. This kind, with a good season, is always ready to be cut in the following season after planting, while other varieties will take two years to mature. Among the other advantage which Rappoe has may be mentioned the facility of threshing, as it practically threshes itself. As the sticks mature, the leaves drop off themselves while in the case of other sorts they do not. The cane is never threshed on Woodlands. In order to show the advantage of the improved methods in connection with the production of sugar discovered during the past few years, Mr. Smith stated that last year it cost ls. 11d. per ton to grow the cane fit for the mill, while in the previous year-: when more antiquated processes were in vogue-the cost per ton was 2s. 0½d. To cut that cane, clean it and deliver it at the mill, it cost in 1891, 2s 9½d. Per ton, in 1892, 2s. 7d. a ton, and in 1893, 2s. 2¾d. per ton, thus showing that, with more scientific principles, the cost of production, as well as of growth, during the three years was considerably reduced. The average yield of sugar last year was 27.38 tons per acre; while the cane averaged forty tons per acre. Mr. Smith speaks very hopefully of the district as a sugar producing centre if mills were only erected. He states that the district has a much better climate than most other parts where cane is grown, and has also much better meteorological conditions for weather prevailing during the crushing. The climate so suits the cane here that it fully matures right up to a the top of the sticks, which can all he utilised, whereas in some places a portion of the top has to be cut. He says that, if the farmers would go in for the growth of cane, give it fair play in the matter of cultivation, he believes they would obtain a ton of cane for every bushel of maize produced. He considers that the farmers should grow the cane without the assurance of mills, and incidentally referred to the Isis district where, previous to the existence of a mill, the cane was grown and conveyed some forty miles to Bundaberg. He is satisfied that mills will come from somewhere if the cane is grown beforehand in sufficient quantities. The Ipswich people interested in he district, Mr. Smith intimated, ought to take steps towards obtaining mills, and he hinted that if they were inclined to embark in such an enterprise, he would not mind joining them to obtain one or two mills. Mr. Smith considers that the farmers should grow cotton, on the poor lands, sugar on the best lands, and maize and other produce on the low lands not suitable for cane, and believes that, if such were don, the result would be extremely satisfactory. Taken as a whole, he does not think that the district can be excelled for its lands and its climate, and, so far as he can see, would be a most glorious locality if the people would make the most of its natural advantages.

KIRCHHEIM’S EFFORTS. The farmers of Kirchheim are going in for sugar growing in a fairly extensive scale, large areas being visible on nearly every farm. Steps were taken by about half-a-dozen settlers towards purchasing a second-hand crushing-plant, now situated at Beenleigh, and it was at first thought that their efforts would be successful. The machinery was inspected, and approved of by some of the promoters of the project, but a hitch has occurred with regard to the necessary capital, and so the matter is now at a stand-still. We understand that the plant in question can be secured for a reasonable sum,  and it in hoped that such arrangements will the made as will result in the purchase of the machinery.