Agriculture in North Queensland

Letter to the Editor

Sir,— Judging by the tone of leading article in your paper of late, you seem to have come to the conclusion that is impossible for a farmer who has to pay his laborers from 30s to 45s per week to compete with others who have to pay only from 3s to 6s per week. Yet that is the position of any one who wishes to enter into agricul tural pursuits in North Queensland. Granted that the white labor he will have to employ is more efficient and can do more work than the black and yellow and tan coolie of other lands, still the difference in wages is too great to be overcome by that factor. Without the door is shut against the introduction of the produce of the low wage coolie, there is no possibility of successsful agriculture in North Queensland. Sugar is the one agricultural Industry in North Queensland— because it is protected. Dairying is spoken of as a possible Industry. It may be so. Certainly it is free from the competition of the colored coolie, because the conditions of his countries do not permit him to compete. As for any other produce, there is nothing that can be produced in North Queens land that cannot be equally well produced in the cheap labor countries. The result is obvious.

There have been hundreds of selections taken up in North Queensland by men who meant to settle on the land; and for every settler who has made a success of agriculture (other than sugar) there are, 99 failures. You can at present ride through the districts most closely settled, and what do you find? The settler at the plough? No; the settler is away up at the mines working to get some money to keep his farm going, or he is getting sleepers or logs for a neighboring sawmill, or working for the Divisional Boards. These are the most common methods of farming (?) in North Queensland, and must always continue so under present conditions. There are writers who dilate on the great possibilities in cotton, coffee, sisal hemp, lndian rubber, tobacco, and various other Industries. The persons who write or talk on these subjects are, for the most part, utterly ignorant of their subject. Where they do have a know ledge of the matter they are simply lying to serve some purpose or another not always disclosed. When North Queensland voted for White Australia it voted for an empty North Queensland, except as so far as the mining and pastoral Industries could populate it— Yours, etc.,

LEONARD M. CUTTEN. Bicton, Clump Point, August 12, 1907.

1907 ‘AGRICULTURE IN NORTH QUEENSLAND.’, Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 – 1954), 15 August, p. 3, viewed 20 November, 2014,