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SOUVENIR-CHARTERS TOWERS, 1872 TO JULY. 1950               Page 49

The Citrus and Grape Industry

(By Robert H. Davies.)

THE surrounding district of Charters Towers is ideally suitable for the production of citrus fruit and grapes and there is available to those seeking the healthy out-door occupation of orchardist or viticulturist, plenty of land of the desirable sand-loam nature. The cultivation of these fruits has been a profitable undertaking in the Charters Towers and Pentland districts, and along both the Burdekin and Cape Rivers there is ample land for the extension of this valuable industry.

Climatically, the conditions are ideal for the production of citrus fruits and grapes, whilst the rainfall is ample and regular, the average being 25 inches annually. Land may be taken up by any person upwards of eighteen years of age under the Miners Homestead Perpetual Lease at an annual rental of £4/16/- per square mile.    Water, which is vitally
necessary in our dry hot atmosphere, is in abundant supply to the south of the city at depths of not more than 12 feet, while the Broughton River, whose name has provided the open sesame to the constant and profitable sales of our fruits, has water at or close to the surface of its sandy bed, all the year round.

Concerning future markets for our fruit production, it may be quite some while before the immediate market in the north of our State is supplied, and if the future should see more citrus and grape production, then we have an inexhaustible demand for these from our near neighbours in the East Indies, Malaya, Burma and even China, without forgetting a large  consumer-country,  India.

The facilities for transport of the fruits are quite good, being either by road, rail, or air. The quality of them has earned for this district an enviable reputation for their bright colouring and bloom, with a delicious flavoured flesh, and wherever exhibited in open competition have earned the favours and open praise of the adjudicator. A short while ago, culminating from a Government conducted experiment with various types of grapes at a local orchard, it has been found that there are early season, mid-season, and late-season grapes that can be profitably produced here, and the production of these varieties of grapes, in addition to the income derived from citrus-growing, would considerably augment his prosperity.

In conclusion, if the foregoing words should prove of interest to anyone imbuid with the idea of land-seeking, then they would be well-advised to come here and make enquiries, and to do so would mean another settler to add to our agricultural community.

Exports From Charters Towers For The Year Ended January, 1949

Citrus, 8415 cases; Cabbage 913 bags; Cauliflowers, 427 bags; Cucumbers, 792 cases; Grapes, 985 cases; Mangoes, 579 cases.

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