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Title: Fruits of Queensland
Author: Benson, Albert H.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     FRUITS OF QUEENSLAND
     BY
     ALBERT H. BENSON, M.R.A.C.,


     Late Instructor in Fruit Culture, Queensland Government;
     now Director of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania.


     BRISBANE:
     BY AUTHORITY: ANTHONY J. CUMMING, GOVERNMENT PRINTER.
     1914.


     [Illustration: Fruit of Mangosteen.]



CONTENTS.


                                                                   PAGE.
     Preface                                                           5
     Introduction                                                      7
     Queensland Fruit-growing                                         17
     Climate                                                          18

     1st.--Soils of Eastern Seaboard, and land adjacent to it,
     suitable to the growth of Tropical and Semi-tropical Fruit       21

     2nd.--Soils of the Coastal Tablelands, suitable for the
     growth of Deciduous Fruit                                        23

     3rd.--Soils of the Central Tablelands, suitable for the
     growth of Grapes, Dates, Citrus Fruits, &c.                      24

     The Banana                                                       24
     The Pineapple                                                    31
     The Mango                                                        41
     Mangosteen                                                       45
     The Papaw                                                        47
     The Cocoa-nut                                                    49
     The Granadilla                                                   51
     The Passion Fruit                                                51
     Custard Apples                                                   53
     Citrus Fruit                                                     57
     The Persimmon                                                    71
     The Loquat                                                       73
     The Date Palm                                                    75
     The Pecan Nut                                                    75
     Japanese Plums                                                   77
     Chickasaw Plums                                                  77
     Chinese Peaches                                                  77
     Figs                                                             79
     The Mulberry                                                     79
     The Strawberry                                                   79
     Cape Gooseberry                                                  82
     The Olive                                                        83
     The Apple                                                        85
     The Peach                                                        87
     The Plum                                                         89
     The Apricot                                                      89
     The Cherry                                                       90
     The Pear                                                         91
     The Almond                                                       91
     Grape Culture                                                    93
     List of Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Queensland               102



[Illustration: Map of Queensland]



PREFACE.


In the more thickly populated portions of the Old and New World, and, to
a certain extent, in the large cities of Australia, the question of how
to make a living has became one of vital importance to a large portion
of the population, and is the cause of considerable anxiety to fathers
of families who are endeavouring to find employment for their sons.

This difficulty of obtaining employment is a very serious question, and
one demanding the most earnest consideration. It is probably the result
of many different causes, but, in the writer's opinion, it is due mainly
to the fact that for years past the trend of population has been from
the country districts to the towns, with the result that many of the
great centres of population are now very badly congested, and profitable
employment of any kind is often extremely difficult to obtain. The
congested towns offer no possible outlet for surplus labour, hence it is
necessary that such labour must find an outlet in the less thickly
populated parts of the world where there is still plenty of room for
development and population is badly needed. Queensland is a country
possessing these qualifications; but is, unfortunately, a country that
is little known to the general mass of home-seekers, and, further, what
little is known of it is usually so inaccurate that a very erroneous
opinion of the capabilities of this really fine country exists. The
great flow of emigration is naturally to those countries that are
nearest to the Old World--viz., the United States of America and
Canada--and little attention is given to Australia, although we have
many advantages not possessed by either the United States or Canada, and
are not subject to the disadvantage of an intensely cold winter such as
that experienced throughout the greater portion of those countries for
several months yearly.

To those looking for homes the following pages are addressed, so that
before deciding to what part of the world they will go they may know
what sort of a country Queensland really is, what one of its industries
is like, the kind of life they may look forward to spending here, and
the possibility of their making a comfortable home amongst us. The life
of a fruit-grower is by no means a hard one in Queensland, the climate
of the fruit-growing districts is a healthy and by no means a trying
one, and is thoroughly adapted to the successful cultivation of many
fruits; and, finally, a living can be made under conditions that are
much more conducive to the well-being of our race than those existing in
the overcrowded centres of population. The writer has no wish to infer
that there are big profits to be made by growing fruit, but, at the same
time, he has no hesitation in saying that where the industry is
conducted in an up-to-date manner, on business lines, a good living can
be made, and that there is a good opening for many who are now badly in
want of employment. The illustrations represent various phases of the
industry, and have been specially prepared by H. W. Mobsby, the Artist
of the Intelligence and Tourist Bureau. Most of the Illustrations have
been taken at an exceptionally dry time, and at the close of one of the
coldest winters on record, so that they do not show the crops or trees
at their best; at the same time, they give a fair idea of some of our
fruits, orchards, and fruit lands.


     ALBERT H. BENSON.
     Brisbane, Queensland, January, 1906.



INTRODUCTION.


Queensland's greatest want to-day is population: Men and women to
develop our great natural resources, to go out into our country
districts as farmers, dairymen, or fruit-growers--not to stick in our
towns, but to become primary producers, workers, home-builders--not the
scourings of big cities, the dissatisfied, the loafer, but the honest
worker whose wish is to make a home for himself and his family. There
are many such in the overcrowded cities of older countries, striving in
vain to make a living--existing, it can hardly be called living, under
conditions that are by no means conducive to their well-being--often
poorly fed and poorly clad--who would better themselves by coming to
Queensland, and by whom Queensland would be benefited. Queensland has
room for many such annually: men and women who come here for the express
intention of settling amongst us and building homes for themselves; who
come here prepared to work, and, if needs be, to work hard; who do not
expect to become rich suddenly, but will be contented with a comfortable
home, a healthy life, and a moderate return for their labour--results
that are within the reach of all, and which compare more than favourably
with the conditions under which they are at present existing.

Queensland's most valuable asset is her soil, and this requires
population to develop it: soil that, in the different districts and
climates best adapted for their growth, is capable of producing most of
the cultivated crops of the world, and, with very few exceptions, all
the fruits of commercial value, many of them to a very high degree of
perfection. This pamphlet is practically confined to the fruit-growing
possibilities of Queensland, and an endeavour is made to show that there
is a good opening for intending settlers in this branch of agriculture,
but the general remarks respecting the climate, rainfall, soils, &c.,
will be of equal interest to any who wish to take up any other branch,
such as general farming, dairying, &c. The Queensland Department of
Agriculture has received a number of inquiries from time to time, and
from various parts of the world, respecting the possibilities of
profitable commercial fruit-growing in this State, and this pamphlet is
intended in part to be an answer to such inquiries; but, at the same
time, it is hoped that it will have a wider scope, and give a general
idea of one of our staple industries to many who are now on the look-out
for a country in which to settle and an occupation to take up when they
arrive there.

[Illustration: Woombye, North Coast Railway. The centre of a large
fruit growing district.]

No branch of agriculture has made a greater advance during the past
quarter-century than that of fruit-growing, and none has become more
popular. The demand for fruit of all kinds, whether fresh or preserved,
has increased enormously throughout the world, and it is now generally
looked upon more as a necessity than a luxury. Hence there are
continually recurring inquiries as to the best place to start
fruit-growing with a reasonable prospect of success. It is not only the
increased demand for fruit that causes these inquiries, but
fruit-growing has a strong attraction for many would-be agriculturists
as compared with general farming, dairying, or stock-raising, and this
attraction is probably due to a certain fascination it possesses that
only those who have been intimately acquainted with the industry for
years can fully appreciate. In addition to the fact that living under
one's own vine and fig-tree is in itself a very pleasant ideal to look
forward to, there is no branch of agronomy that calls for a keener
appreciation of the laws of Nature, that brings man into closer touch
with Nature, that makes a greater demand on a man's patience, skill, and
energy, or in which science and practice are more closely related, than
in that of fruit-growing. To all those who are considering the
advantages of taking up fruit-growing as an occupation, and to those who
feel the attraction I have just described, these few words on
fruit-growing in Queensland are addressed, as the writer wishes them to
learn something of the fruit-growing capabilities of this State, so that
before deciding on the country in which they will make a start they may
not be in complete ignorance of a land that is especially adapted for
the growth of a larger number of distinct varieties of fruit than any
other similar area of land with which he is acquainted either in the Old
or New World.

Queensland is a country whose capabilities are at present comparatively
unknown even to those living in the Southern States of Australia, and,
naturally, very much less so to the rest of the world, hence a little
general information respecting our country and one of its industries may
be of some help to those who are looking for an opening in this
particular branch of agriculture.

[Illustration: A Tropical Orchard, Port Douglas.]

[Illustration: Coochin York Mangosteen, Port Douglas District.]

Queensland is a country having a population of a little over half a
million, and an area of 429,120,000 acres; the population of a city of
the second magnitude, and an area of some seven and one-half times
greater than that of Great Britain, or two and one-half times greater
than the State of Texas, United States of America.

A country embracing 18 degrees of latitude, from the 11th to the 29th
degrees of south latitude, and extending from a humid eastern seaboard
to an extremely dry interior, some 15 degrees of longitude west. A
country, therefore, of many climates and varied rainfall. A country
possessing a great diversity of soils, many of which are of surprising
richness. A country more or less heavily timbered with either scrub or
forest growth, or consisting of wide open plains that are practically
treeless. A country of infinite resources, that is capable of producing
within its own borders all that man requires, from the extreme tropical
to temperate products. A country that, once its possibilities are
realised and turned to a profitable account, is destined to become one
of the most fruitful in the globe, to support a large and thriving
population of our own people; and last, but not least, a country that,
from a fruit-grower's point of view, cannot be excelled elsewhere. We
have a healthy climate, not by any means an extreme climate as is often
represented--extreme cold is unknown, frost being unusual on any portion
of the seaboard, but common during the winter months on our tablelands.
But even where there are frosts the days are pleasantly warm. Summer is
undoubtedly warm, but it is usually a bearable heat, and sudden changes
are extremely rare, so that though trying in the humid tropical
seaboard, it is not unbearable, and compares favourably with the
tropical heat met with elsewhere. This is clearly shown by the stamina
of the white race, particularly those living in the country districts,
where both men and women compare favourably with those of any other part
of the Empire. Except in very isolated places, communication with the
outside world and between the different centres of population is regular
and frequent; in fact, in all the coastal and coastal tableland
districts of the State one is kept daily in touch with all the important
matters that are taking place in the world. In the home life there is a
freedom not met with in older countries; there is an almost entire
absence of artificiality--people are natural, and are interested in each
other's welfare. They are certainly fond of pleasure, but at the same
time are extremely generous and hospitable. The writer can speak of this
from a large practical experience, as for some years past he has
annually travelled many thousands of miles amongst fruit-growers and
others who are settled on the land, and, without exception, he has
everywhere been met with the greatest kindness from rich and poor
alike--in short, a hearty welcome--and the best that the house affords
is the rule, without exception. In brief, should any of my readers
decide on coming to Queensland, the only difference that they will find
as compared with the older countries is, that our climate is somewhat
warmer in summer, but to compensate for this we have no severe cold in
winter. There is more freedom and less conventionality, life to all who
will work is much easier, and there is not the same necessity for
expensive clothing or houses as exists in more rigorous climates. The
people they will meet are of their own colour and race, no doubt fond of
sport and pleasure, perhaps inclined to be a little self-opinionated,
but solid grit at the bottom. As previously stated, Queensland offers
exceptional advantages to the intending fruit-grower, and the following
may be quoted as examples. The ease with which fruit can be produced,
when grown under conditions suitable to its proper development, is often
remarkable, and is a constant source of wonder to all who have been
accustomed to the comparatively slow growth of many of our commoner
varieties of fruits when grown in less favoured climes, and to the care
that is there necessary to produce profitable returns. Here all kinds of
tree life is rapid, and fruit trees come into bearing much sooner than
they do in colder climates. In addition to their arriving at early
maturity, they are also, as a rule, heavy bearers, their fault, if
anything, being towards over-bearing. Fruits of many kinds are so
thoroughly acclimatised that it is by no means uncommon to find them
growing wild, and holding their own in the midst of rank indigenous
vegetation, without receiving the slightest care or attention. In some
cases where cultivated fruits have been allowed to become wild, they
have become somewhat of a pest, and have kept down all other growths, so
much so that it has been actually necessary to take steps to prevent
them from becoming a nuisance, so readily do they grow, and so rapidly
do they increase. The very ease with which fruit can be grown when
planted under conditions of soil and climate favourable to its
development has had a tendency to make growers somewhat careless as
compared with those of other countries who have to grow fruit under
conditions demanding the most careful attention in order to be made
profitable. This is enough to show that Queensland is adapted for
fruit-growing, and the illustrations accompanying the description of our
chief commercial fruits will show them more forcibly than any words of
mine that my contention is a correct one. Latterly, however, there has
been a considerable improvement in the working of our orchards, growers
finding that it does not pay to grow second-quality fruit, and,
therefore, they are giving much more attention to the selection of
varieties, cultivation of the land, pruning the trees, and the keeping
in check of fruit pests; as, like other parts of the world, we have our
pests to deal with. This improvement in the care and management of our
orchards is resulting in a corresponding improvement in the quantity and
quality of our output, so that now our commercial fruits--that is to
say, the fruits grown in commercial quantities--compare favourably with
the best types of similar fruits produced elsewhere. The writer has no
wish to convey the impression that all that is required in order to grow
fruit in Queensland is to secure suitable land, plant the trees, let
Nature do the rest, and when they come into bearing simply gather and
market the fruit. This has been done in the past, and may be done again
under favourable conditions, but it is not the usual method adopted, nor
is it to be recommended. Here, as elsewhere, the progressive
fruit-growing of to-day has become practically a science, as the
fruit-grower who wishes to keep abreast of the times depends largely on
the practical application of scientific knowledge for the successful
carrying on of his business. There is no branch of agronomy in which
science and practice are more closely connected than in that of
fruit-growing. Every operation of the fruit-grower is, or should be,
carried out on scientific lines and by the best methods of
propagation--pruning, cultivation, manuring, treatment of diseases, and
preservation of fruit when grown are all, directly or indirectly, the
result of scientific research. To be a successful fruit-grower in
Queensland one must therefore use one's brains as well as one's hands;
the right tree must be grown in the right kind of soil and under the
right conditions; it must be properly attended to, and the fruit, when
grown, must be marketed in the best possible condition, whether same be
as fresh fruit or dried, canned, or otherwise preserved, and whether
same be destined for our local, Australian, or oversea markets.
Fruit-growing on these lines is a success in Queensland to-day, and it
is capable of considerable extension, so that, in the writer's opinion,
it offers a good field for the intending settler. Carried out in the
manner indicated, he has no hesitation in saying that Queensland is a
good place in which to start fruit-growing, that the advantages it
possesses cannot be surpassed or even equalled elsewhere, and, further,
that as our seasons are the opposite of those in countries situated on
the north of the equator, our fruits ripen in the off-seasons of similar
fruit grown in those countries, and, with our facilities for cold
storage and rapid transit, can be placed on their markets at a time that
they are bare of such fruits, thus securing top prices.

[Illustration: Bunch of Fruit of the Coochin York Mangosteen.]

Queensland has practically an unlimited area of land suitable for fruit
culture, much of which is at present in its virgin state, and is
obtainable on easy terms and at a low rate. Government land is worth on
an average £1 per acre, and privately-owned land suitable for
fruit-growing can be purchased at from 10s. to £5 per acre, according to
its quality and its distance from railway or water carriage. We have
plenty of land, what we lack is population to work it; and there is no
fear of over-crowding for many years to come. We have not only large
areas of good fruit land at reasonable rates, but the Government of
Queensland, through its Department of Agriculture, is always ready to
give full information to intending settlers, to assist them in their
selection of suitable land, to advise them as to the kinds of fruit to
plant, to give practical advice in the cultivation, pruning, manuring,
and general management of the orchard as well as in the disposal or
utilisation of the fruit when grown; in short, to help the beginner to
start on the right lines, so that he will be successful.

[Illustration: Tamarind Fruits--Kamerunga State Nursery, Cairns.]

There is also little if any fear of over-extending the fruit-growing
industry, as, if it is conducted on the right lines and on sound
business principles, we can raise fruit of the highest quality at a
price that will enable us to compete in the markets of the world
especially now that we have direct and rapid communication at frequent
intervals with Canada, the United States of America, the East (Japan,
Manilla, &c.), Europe, and the United Kingdom.



QUEENSLAND FRUIT GROWING.


Very few persons have any idea of the magnitude or the resources of this
State of Queensland, and in no branch of agricultural industry are they
more clearly shown than in that of fruit-growing. Here, unlike the
colder parts of the world or the extreme tropics, we are not confined to
the growing of particular varieties of fruits, but, owing to our great
extent of country, and its geographical distribution, we are able to
produce practically all the cultivated fruits of the world, many of them
to great perfection. There are, however, one or two tropical fruits that
are exceptions, such as the durien and mangosteen, whose range is
extremely small, and one or two of the berry fruits of cold countries,
which require a colder winter than that experienced in any part of this
State. It will, however, be seen at once that a country that can produce
such fruits as the mango, pineapple, banana, papaw, granadilla, guava,
custard apple, litchi, sour sop, cocoa nut, bread fruit, jack fruit,
monstera, alligator pear, and others of a purely tropical character; the
date, citrus fruits of all kinds, passion fruit, persimmon, olive, pecan
nut, cape gooseberry, loquat, and other fruits of a semi-tropical
character, as well as the fruits of the more temperate regions, such as
the apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot, quince, almond, cherry, fig,
walnut, strawberry, mulberry, and others of minor importance, in
addition to grapes of all kinds, both for wine and table, and of both
European and American origin, offers a very wide choice of fruits indeed
to the prospective grower. Of course, it must not be thought for a
moment that all the fruits mentioned can be grown to perfection at any
one place in the State, as that would be an impossibility, but they can
be grown in some part of the State profitably and to great perfection.

The law of successful fruit culture is the same here as in all other
fruit-producing countries--viz., to grow in your district only those
fruits which are particularly adapted to your soil and climate, and to
let others grow those fruits which you cannot grow, but which their
conditions allow them to produce to perfection. The intending grower
must, therefore, first decide on what fruits he wishes to grow, and when
he has done so, select the district best suited to their growth. The
small map of the State shows the districts in which certain fruits may
be grown profitably, or, rather, the districts in which they are at
present being so grown; but there are many other districts in which
fruit-growing has not been attempted in commercial quantities or for
other than purely home consumption that, once the State begins to fill
up with population, are equal, if not superior, to the older
fruit-growing districts, and are capable of maintaining a large
population.

[Illustration: Typical Clean Orchard.]



CLIMATE.


As previously stated, the successful culture of fruit depends mainly on
the right kinds of fruit being grown in the right soil and climate. This
naturally brings us to the question of climate, and here one again gets
an idea of the extent of our country, as we have not one but many
climates. Climate is a matter of such vital importance to fruit-growers,
and there is such a general lack of knowledge respecting the climate of
Queensland, that a little information on this point is desirable. I am
afraid that there is a very general impression that Queensland has a
climate that is only suitable for a coloured race; that it is either in
the condition of a burnt-up desert or is being flooded out. That it is a
country of droughts and floods, a country of extremes--in fact, a very
desirable place to live out of. No more erroneous idea was ever given
credence to, and, as an Englishman born, who has had many years'
practical experience on the land in England, Scotland, the United States
of America, and the various Australian States, I have no hesitation in
saying that, as far as my experience goes--and it is an experience
gained by visiting nearly every part of the State that is suited for
agricultural pursuits--taken as a whole, it is difficult to find a
better or healthier climate in any other country of equal area. Our
climate has its disadvantages, no doubt, particularly our dry spells,
but show me the country that has a perfect climate. We have
disadvantages, but, at the same time, we have great advantages;
advantages that, in my opinion, outweigh our disadvantages.

Our eastern seaboard, extending from the New South Wales border in the
south, a few miles to the south of the 28th degree of south latitude, to
Cape York, some 20 miles north of the 11th degree of south latitude,
contains our best districts for the growth of tropical and semi-tropical
fruits. The coastal climate, however, varies considerably, and is
governed by the proximity or otherwise of the coast ranges. When they
approach the coast there is always more rainfall, and as they recede the
rainfall decreases. With one or two exceptions, where the coastal range
is a considerable distance inland, the eastern coastal districts have a
sufficient rainfall for the successful culture of most fruits, though
they are subject to a dry spell during winter and spring. During this
period of the year, the weather is extremely enjoyable; in fact, it is
hard to better it, even in our extreme North. But as summer approaches,
thunderstorms become prevalent, and are accompanied by more or less
humid conditions, which, though good for fruit-development, are not
quite so enjoyable as the drier months. Summer is our rainy season, and
the rainfalls are occasionally very heavy. The weather is warm and
oppressive, particularly in the more tropical districts; but these very
conditions are those that are best suited to the production of tropical
fruits. The climate of those districts having the heaviest summer
rainfall is somewhat trying to Europeans, particularly women, but it is
by no means unhealthy, and in the hottest parts, having the coast range
nearly on the coast, there is, within a few miles, a tableland of from
2,000 to 4,000 feet elevation, where the climate is cool and bracing,
and where the jaded man or woman can soon throw off the feeling of
lassitude brought about by the heat and humidity of the seaboard. In
autumn the weather soon cools off, drier conditions supervene, and
living again becomes a pleasure in one of the best and healthiest
climates to be met with anywhere. Practically all the district under
review has a sufficient rainfall for the growth of all fruits suitable
to the climate, though there are occasionally dry spells during spring,
when a judicious watering would be a great advantage. This does not
imply a regular system of irrigation, but simply the conserving of
surplus moisture in times of plenty by means of dams across small
natural watercourses or gullies, by tanks where such do not occur, or
from wells where an available supply of underground water may be
obtained. The water so conserved will only be needed occasionally, but
it is an insurance against any possible loss or damage that might accrue
to the trees during a dry spell of extra length. So far, little has been
done in coastal districts in conserving water for fruit-growing, the
natural rainfall being considered by many to be ample; but, in the
writer's opinion, it will be found to be a good investment, as it will
be the means of securing regular crops instead of an occasional partial
failure, due to lack of sufficient moisture during a critical period of
the tree's growth. The average yearly rainfall in the eastern seaboard
varies from 149 inches at Geraldton to 41 inches at Bowen, the mean
average being about 90 inches to the north and 49 inches to the south of
Townsville. Were this fall evenly distributed throughout the year, it
would be ample for all requirements. Unfortunately, however, it is not
evenly distributed, the heavy falls taking place during the summer
months, so that there is often a dry spell of greater or less extent
during the winter and spring, during which a judicious watering has a
very beneficial effect on fruit trees, and secures a good crop for the
coming season. The rainfall shows that there is no fear of a shortage of
water at any time, the only question is to conserve the surplus for use
during a prolonged dry spell. These conditions are extremely favourable
for the growth of all tropical and semi-tropical fruits, as during our
period of greater heat, when these fruits make their greatest call for
moisture, there is an abundance of rain, and during the other portions
of the year, when the call is not so heavy, it is usually an inexpensive
matter to conserve or obtain a sufficient supply to keep the trees in
the best of order. Throughout the southern half of this seaboard frosts
are not unknown on low-lying ground, but are extremely rare on the
actual coast, or at an elevation of 300 to 400 feet above the sea, so
much so that no precautions are necessary to prevent damage from frost.
We have, unlike Florida and other parts of the United States of
America--great fruit-growing districts--no killing frosts, and now, at
the close of one of the coldest winters on record, and one of the
driest, nowhere have our pineapples--fruit nor plants--been injured,
except on low-lying ground, over in the Southern part of the State, and
mangoes, bananas, &c., are uninjured.

[Illustration: Burning-off for fruit growing, Mapleton, Blackall Range.]

[Illustration: Same land one year later. Fruit-grower's family gathering
strawberries.]

In the more tropical North frosts are unknown on the coast, and there is
no danger to even the most delicate plants from cold.

Running parallel with the coast we have a series of ranges of low
mountains, running from 2,000 feet to nearly 6,000 feet, the general
height being from 2,000 to 3,000 feet, and at the back of these ranges
more or less level tablelands, sloping generally to the west. On and
adjacent to these ranges in the Southern part of the State, there are
fairly sharp frosts in winter, but the days are warm and bright. This is
the district best adapted for the growth of deciduous fruits and vines,
table varieties doing particularly well. It is a district well adapted
for mixed farming and dairying, as well as fruit-growing; the climate
is even and healthy, and is neither severe in summer nor winter. The
average rainfall is some 30 inches, and is usually sufficient, though
there are dry periods, when a judicious watering, as recommended for the
coast districts, would be of great value to fruit and vegetable growers.
The more northern end of this tableland country has a much better
rainfall--some 40 inches per annum--and frosts, though they occur at
times, are not common. Here the climate is very healthy, there are no
extremes of heat and cold, and, lying as it does inland from the most
trying portion of our tropical seaboard, it forms a natural sanatorium
to this part of our State.

Further west the rainfall decreases, the summers are hot--a dry heat, as
distinct from the more humid heat of the coast, and much more bearable.
There are frequent frosts in winter, particularly in the Southern part
of the State. Fruit-growing is only carried on to a slight extent at
present, and then only with the help of water, but when the latter is
obtainable, very good results are obtained. Grapes do well, both wine
and table, and for raisin-making. Citrus fruits are remarkably fine, the
lemons especially, being the best grown in the State. The trees are less
liable to the attack of many pests, the dryness of the air retarding
their development, if not altogether preventing their occurrence. The
date palm is quite at home here, and when planted in deep sandy land,
and supplied with sufficient water, it is a rapid grower and heavy
bearer. As an offset to the smallness of the rainfall, there is a good
supply of artesian water, distributed over a wide range of country, that
can be obtained at a reasonable rate, and that is suitable for
irrigation purposes. All bore water is not suitable for irrigation,
however, as some of it is too highly mineralised, but there are large
areas of country possessing an artesian supply of excellent quality for
this purpose. It will thus be seen that we have in Queensland, roughly,
three distinct belts of fruit-growing country--

     1st.--The Eastern Seaboard, and the land adjacent to it, suitable
     for the growing of tropical and semi-tropical fruit;

     2nd.--The Coastal Tablelands, suitable for the growth of deciduous
     fruits, vines, olives, and citrus fruits in parts;

     3rd.--The Central Tablelands, suitable for the growth of grapes,
     for table and drying, dates, citrus fruits, &c., but requiring
     water for irrigation to produce profitably.

So far, I have confined my remarks mainly to the climatic side of
fruit-growing, and, before dealing with the growing of the different
kinds of fruit, I will say a few words about our fruit soils, and will
deal with them in districts, as I have endeavoured to do in the case of
climate.


1st.--Soils of Eastern Seaboard, and Land adjacent to it, suitable to
the Growth of Tropical and Semi-Tropical Fruit.

Several distinct types of soil are found that are well adapted for
fruit-growing, but they all have one general characteristic which is a
_sine qua non_ of success--viz., they must possess good natural
drainage, so that there is no danger of their becoming waterlogged or
soured during periods of continued or heavy rainfall, as these
conditions are fatal to fruit culture under tropical and semi-tropical
conditions. Of such soils, the first to be considered are those of
basaltic origin. They are usually of a chocolate or rich red colour, are
of great depth, in parts more or less covered with basaltic boulders, in
others entirely free from stones. The surface soil is friable and easily
worked, and the subsoil, which is usually of a rich red colour, is
easily penetrated by the roots of trees and plants grown thereon.
Occasionally the subsoil is more compact, in which case it is not so
good for fruit-tree growth, but is better adapted for that of
sugar-cane, corn, grass, &c. These basaltic soils are usually rich, and
are covered in their virgin condition with what is termed scrub--a dense
mass of vegetation closely resembling an Indian jungle. The scrub growth
is totally distinct from forest growth, which will be described later,
in that the bulk of the timber growing in it, much of which is of large
size, is of a soft nature, and once cut down soon rots away. Imagine a
dense wall of vegetation, consisting of large trees running up to 100 or
150 feet in height, with trunks ranging from 2 to 8 feet, or even more,
in diameter, and between these trunks an impenetrable mass of smaller
growths, all of the most vivid green colours, together with innumerable
vines and creepers that are suspended from the branches of the trees,
hanging in festoons, creeping palms and bamboos, ferns and orchids of
many kinds, both on the ground and growing on the tree trunks, as well
as many beautiful foliage plants only found in hothouses in England, and
you will have a faint idea of what a virgin scrub in coastal Queensland
is like. Much of the timber of the coastal scrubs is of considerable
commercial value for building purposes and furniture making, and is, or
should be, so utilised prior to felling and burning off.

True scrub lands are not by any means the most difficult to clear,
though to a "new chum" the work will appear at first of a Herculean
character. Brushing the dense undergrowth and then felling the timber at
a face costs from £1 10s. to £2 per acre, according to density, size of
timber, and proportion of hardwood trees contained in it, and once this
is done the fallen mass is allowed to become thoroughly dry, when it is
burnt off. A good fire is half the battle, as the subsequent work of
burning off the heavy timber left from the first burn is comparatively
light. No stumps are taken out, as the bulk are found to rot out in a
few years, and their presence in the soil is no detriment to the
planting of such crops as bananas or even citrus fruit trees. No special
preparation of the land, such as breaking up, &c., is necessary prior to
planting. Holes are dug, trees or bananas are planted, and the whole
cultivation for the first few years consists in keeping down weed
growths with the chipping hoe. Once the stumps have rotted out the
plough and other implements of culture take the place of the hoe. These
soils are especially adapted for the growth of oranges, limes,
mandarins, mangoes, bananas, pineapples, papaws, custard apples,
strawberries, and cape gooseberries in the South; in fact, for nearly
every kind of tropical and semi-tropical fruit.

Some basaltic soils are occasionally covered with forest in the place of
scrub, or a mixture, part scrub and part forest. Forest country, as
distinct from scrub, is open-timbered country, with little undergrowth,
and no vines or other creepers. The timbers are also, as a rule, very
hard, and the stumps will not rot out. Such land, when at all heavily
timbered, is much harder to clear and get ready for fruit-growing than
true scrub, as all timber must be felled and burnt off, and all stumps
and roots taken out, so that the land can be thoroughly broken up and
brought into a good state of tilth prior to planting. These soils are
suitable to the growth of similar fruits to the true scrubs, but, as a
rule, they are not as rich. The second class of soils suitable to
fruit-growing are of alluvial origin, and are of a sandy, loamy nature,
of fair depth. They are usually met with along our creeks and rivers, or
in the deltas of our rivers. In their virgin state they are either
covered with scrub or forest, or a mixture of both, but the growth is
seldom as strong as on the red volcanic soils. Heavy alluvial soils are
not suitable for fruit culture, and are much more valuable for the
growth of farm crops, but the light sandy loams and free loams of medium
character suit all kinds of fruit to perfection. These soils usually are
easy to work. They retain moisture well when well worked, and frequently
they are capable of being irrigated, either from adjacent creeks or
rivers, or by water from wells. These soils are some of our best for
citrus fruits, and are well adapted for the growth of pineapples and
bananas, as well as most other tropical fruits, when free from frosts.
The third class of soils are free sandy loams, either scrub or forest.
They are of various colours, and range in texture from light sandy loams
to medium loams; they possess excellent drainage, and though, when
covered with forest, they are not naturally rich, they make excellent
fruit soils, and respond rapidly to systematic cultivation and manuring.
They are usually of sandstone or granitic origin, and, when covered with
scrub in the first place, grow good crops for the first few years, when
they become more or less exhausted in one or more available plant foods,
and require manuring. These soils, like the sandy alluvial loams, are
easy to work, retain moisture well when kept in a state of perfect
tilth, and respond readily to manuring. They will grow all kinds of
fruits when free from frost. There are other soils on which fruit can be
grown, but those mentioned represent those most suitable. The land on
which these soils occur is often much broken, particularly in rich scrub
country; it is fairly level when of alluvial origin, and more or less
rolling, as a rule, when of a sandy loamy nature. High, ridgy, free,
loamy country is usually the most free from frost, and alluvial flats
the most liable to it.


2nd.--Soils of the Coastal Tablelands, suitable for the Growth of
Deciduous Fruit.

Starting from the Southern part of the State, adjoining the New South
Wales border, the fruit soils are all of granitic origin. The country is
much broken, but between the ridges and along the creek flats there is a
considerable area possessing soils varying from a coarse, granitic,
gritty soil to a fine granitic soil; that on the creeks of an alluvial
nature, but still granitic. These soils vary considerably in quality,
but are, as a rule, easy to work and retain moisture well. They are
covered with open forest and are particularly adapted to the growth of
apples, plums, peaches, and grapes, though other deciduous fruits are
grown but not to the same excellence as those mentioned. Proceeding
north the fruit soils are either sandy loams or loams of a brownish
colour of volcanic origin. The former are suitable for almonds and wine
grapes, and the latter for peaches, apricots, pears, apples, and
especially olives. Further north a few of these fruits may be grown on
loamy soils, together with citrus fruits, but, commercially, deciduous
fruits are confined to the southern end of this district, the winter
temperature being too high for their successful growth further north, as
the trees get no winter rest, hence do not mature their fruit-bearing
wood properly.


3rd.--Soils of the Central Tablelands, suitable to the Growth of Grapes,
Dates, Citrus Fruits, Etc.

At the Southern end of the State the fruit soils are all of a sandy
nature. Nothing else is used in any quantity, as sandy soils alone will
retain sufficient moisture for the growth of grapes and fruit trees
during dry spells, and even then only when kept well and deeply worked.
Further north, where suitable artesian water is available, the best
fruit soils are also free loams of a sandy nature, either alluvial or
open forest soils, but deep, and possessing perfect drainage, as
irrigation on land without good natural drainage is fatal to fruit
culture. These sandy loams are also easy to work; though by no means
rich, they, on account of their depth, grow good crops of fruit by means
of irrigation, and the fruit, such as dates, oranges, lemons, grapes,
&c., is of very fine quality. The fruit soils of this district are
covered either with open forest--the trees being of comparatively small
size--or with a scrubby undergrowth through which a few larger trees are
scattered. Nearly all the timber of this district is extremely hard, is
more or less stunted, and burns readily, hence clearing is not a very
expensive item.

Having now given a very brief description of our climate and the
fruit-soils in our principal fruit-producing centres, we will next
consider the culture of those fruits which are grown in commercial
quantities in the different parts of the State, as well as that of a few
less well-known fruits which show especial promise. We will first deal
with our tropical fruits, of which the first to be considered is the
banana, as its production greatly exceeds that of any other tropical
fruit, and, as far as Australia is concerned, this is the only State in
which it is grown in commercial quantities. From tropical fruits we will
go on to semi-tropical fruits, then to temperate fruits and vines.



THE BANANA.

Under the heading of "Banana," all kinds of plantains will also be
included, as they belong to one and the same family. The members of this
family of plants are all tropical, and produce the most typical and best
known tropical fruits.

[Illustration: Cavendish Bananas on scrub land, Buderim Mountain.]

[Illustration: Cavendish Bananas at Woombye on newly cleared land.]

The rank luxuriance of the growth of this class of fruits, their
handsome foliage, their productiveness, their high economic value as
food, and their universal distribution throughout the tropics, all
combine to place them in a premier position. As a food it is unequalled
amongst fruits, as no matter whether it is used green as a vegetable,
ripe as a fruit, dried and ground into flour, or preserved in any other
way, it is one of the most wholesome and nutritious of foods for human
consumption. It is a staple article of diet in all tropical countries,
and the stems of several varieties make an excellent food for all kinds
of stock.

[Illustration: Twenty-dozen Bunch, Buderim Mountain.]

In Queensland, the culture of bananas is confined to the frostless belts
of the eastern seaboard, as it is a plant that is extremely susceptible
to cold, and is injured by the lightest frosts. It is grown in
favourable locations in the South, where it produces excellent fruit,
but its cultivation is much greater in the North, where the rainfall is
heavier and the average annual temperature greater. In the Southern part
of the State its cultivation is entirely in the hands of white growers,
who have been growing it on suitable soil in suitable localities for the
past fifty years or even more. I recently saw an old plantation that was
set out over twenty years ago, and the present plants are still strong
and healthy, and bearing good bunches of well-filled fruit, so that
there is no question as to the suitability of the soil or climate.
Bananas do best on rich scrub land, and it is no detriment to their
growth if it is more or less covered with stones as long as there is
sufficient soil to set the young plants. Shelter from heavy or cold
winds is an advantage, and the plants thrive better under these
conditions than when planted in more exposed positions. Bananas are
frequently the first crop planted in newly burnt off scrub land, as they
do not require any special preparation of such land, and the large
amount of ash and partially burnt and decomposed vegetable mould provide
an ample supply of food for the plants' use. Bananas are rank feeders,
so that this abundance of available plant food causes a rapid growth,
fine plants, and correspondingly large bunches of fruit. Though newly
burnt off scrub land is the best for this fruit, it can be grown
successfully in land that has been under cultivation for many years,
provided that the land is rich enough naturally, or its fertility is
maintained by judicious green and other manuring. In newly burnt off
scrub land all that is necessary is, to dig holes 15 to 18 inches in
diameter, and about 2 feet deep, set the young plants in it, and partly
fill in the hole with good top soil. The young plant, which consists of
a sucker taken from an older plant, will soon take root and grow rapidly
under favourable conditions, producing its first bunch in from ten to
twelve months after planting. At the same time that it is producing its
first bunch it will send up two or more suckers at the base of the
parent plant, and these in turn will bear fruit, and so on. After
bearing, the stalk that has produced the bunch of fruit is cut down; if
this is not done it will die down, as its work has been completed, and
other suckers take its place. Too many suckers should not be allowed to
grow or the plants will become too crowded, and be consequently stunted
and produce small bunches. All the cultivation that is necessary is the
keeping down of weed growth, and this, once the plants occupy the whole
of the land, is not a hard matter. A plantation is at its best when
about three years old, but remains profitable for six years or longer;
in fact, there are many plantations still bearing good fruit that have
been planted from twelve to twenty years. Small-growing or dwarf kinds,
such as the Cavendish variety, are planted at from 12 to 16 feet apart
each way, but large-growing bananas, such as the Sugar and Lady's
Finger, require from 20 to 25 feet apart each way, as do the
stronger-growing varieties of plantain. Plantains are not grown to any
extent in Queensland, and our principal varieties are those already
mentioned, the Cavendish variety greatly predominating. In the North,
the cultivation of this latter variety is carried out on an extensive
scale, principally by Chinese gardeners, who send the bulk of their
produce to the Southern States of the Commonwealth. The industry
supports a large number of persons other than the actual producers of
the fruit, and forms one of our principal articles of export from the
North. As many as 20,000 or more large bunches of bananas frequently
leave by a single steamer for the South, and the bringing of this
quantity to the port of shipment gives employment to a number of men on
tram lines and small coastal steamers. The shipment of a heavy cargo of
bananas presents a very busy scene that is not soon forgotten, the
thousands of bunches of fruit that are either piled up on the wharf or
that are being unloaded from railway trucks, small steamers or sometimes
Chinese junks, forming such a mass of fruit that one often wonders how
it is possible to consume it all before it becomes over-ripe. Still, it
is consumed, or, at any rate, the greater portion of it is, as it is the
universal fruit of the less wealthy portion of the community, the price
at which it can be sold being so low that it is within the reach of
everyone. A banana garden in full bearing is a very pretty sight, the
thousands of plants, each with their one or more bunches of fruit, as,
where there are several stems it is not at all uncommon to find two or
more bunches of fruit in different states of development on the same
plant, forming a mass of vegetation that must be seen to be appreciated.
This is the case even with dwarf-growing kinds, but with strong-growing
varieties, such as the Lady's Finger, the growth is so excessive that
the wonder is, how the soil can support it.

[Illustration: Bananas for shipment at Innisfail.]

Bananas do remarkably well in Queensland, and there is practically an
unlimited area of country suitable for their culture, much of which is
at present in a state of Nature. Only the more easily accessible lands
have been worked and of these only the richest. Manuring is unknown in
most parts, and as soon as the plantation shows signs of deterioration
it is abandoned, and a fresh one planted out in new land, the land
previously under crop with bananas being either planted in sugar-cane or
allowed to run to grass. This is certainly a very wasteful method of
utilising our land, and the time will come, sooner or later, when
greater care will have to be given to it, and that once land has become
impoverished by banana culture, it will have to be put under a suitable
rotation of crops, so as to fit it for being again planted to bananas.
The trouble is, as I have already stated, we have too much land and too
few people to work it, hence, so far, we are unable to use it to
anything like the best advantage. During the year 1904 the production of
bananas in Queensland was some 2,000,000 bunches, and when it is
considered that each bunch will average about 12 dozen fruit, it will be
seen that already we are producing a very large quantity. There is,
however, plenty of room for extension, and any quantity of available
country, but before this extension can be profitable, steps will have to
be taken to utilise the fruit in a manner other than its consumption as
fresh fruit, and this in itself will mean the opening up of new
industries and the employment of a considerable amount of labour. I have
mentioned 12 dozen as being the average quantity of fruit per bunch, but
it is frequently much more than this, and I have often seen bunches of
25 to 30 dozen fine fruit grown on strong young plants on rich new land.
Although the industry in the North is now almost entirely in the hands
of Chinese gardeners, there is no reason whatever why it should not be
run by white growers, as is done in the South, and there is no question
that our white-grown bananas in the South compare more than favourably
with the Northern Chinese-grown article, despite the fact that the
latter has every advantage in climate and an abundance of virgin soil.
Most of the photos of bananas are, I am sorry to say, not by any means
typical of this industry, as they have been taken during the off-season,
when the plants look ragged and are showing little new growth, and the
bunches also are much smaller than usual. Still, I hope that the
illustrations will give some idea of the growing and handling of this
crop, and will show what a banana plant and its bunch are like.



THE PINEAPPLE.


If there is one fruit that Queensland can grow to perfection, it is
undoubtedly the pineapple. This is not merely my own personal opinion,
but is the universal admission of all who are qualified to judge. On
many occasions I have taken men thoroughly conversant with
pineapple-growing, and who knew what a good fruit really is, through
some of our plantations, where I have given them fruit to test, and,
without exception, they have had no hesitation in saying that they have
never tasted better fruit. Our fruit has a firmness, freedom from fibre,
and a flavour that is hard to beat. It is an excellent canning fruit,
superior in this respect to the Singapore article, which it surpasses in
flavour. This is admitted by English and European buyers, and its
superiority is bound eventually to result in a great increase in canning
and the establishment of large works run on thoroughly up-to-date
lines.

[Illustration: Picking Pines for market--Woombye District.]

[Illustration: Pineapple Plantation--showing plants of different
ages--Woombye, North Coast Line.]

Like the banana, the pineapple is a tropical fruit, and is very
sensitive to cold, hence its culture is confined to frostless districts.
It is grown all along our eastern seaboard, where, when planted in
suitable soils and under suitable conditions, it is, undoubtedly, our
hardiest fruit, and is practically immune from any serious disease. Its
culture is entirely in the open, no shelter whatever being given, so
that we are not put to the great expense that growers of this fruit in
Florida and some other pineapple-producing countries must incur if they
wish to secure a crop. Here we have no severe freeze-outs, and, though
dry spells retard the growth at times, we have never suffered any
serious injury from this cause. In the Southern part of the State, the
coolness of the winter retards growth somewhat, and occasionally the
tops of the leaves and young fruit are slightly injured, particularly in
low-lying land, or where the plants are growing on land having a cold
subsoil. When grown under more favourable conditions, however, they
sustain no injury, and produce fruit, more or less, all the year round.
Pines are always in season, though there are times when they are
comparatively scarce. There are usually two main crops a year--viz., a
summer and a winter crop. The former is the heavier of the two, and the
fruit is decidedly the best, as its sugar contents are much higher. The
main summer crop ripens in the North from the beginning of November, and
in the South from January to as late as March in some seasons. The main
winter crop is usually at its best in July and August, but there is
always more or less fruit during the other months of the year. The
pineapple likes a warm, free, well-drained soil, that is free from frost
in winter, and that will not become soured by heavy rain during summer.
Sandy loams are, therefore, our best pineapple soils, though it does
well on free loams of basaltic or alluvial origin. Unlike the banana,
the pineapple does not do too well in newly burnt off scrub land, owing
to the difficulty in working the ground and keeping it clean. It
requires a thorough preparation of the soil prior to planting in order
to be grown to perfection. In the case of new land of suitable texture,
the timber should all be burnt off, and all stumps and roots taken out
of the soil, which should then be carefully broken up and reduced to a
fine tilth, all weed or grass growth being destroyed. It should then be
again ploughed, and, if possible, subsoiled, so as to permit of the
roots penetrating the ground to a fair depth instead of their merely
depending on the few top inches of surface soil. Careful preparation of
the land and deep stirring prior to planting will be found to pay well,
and turn out far the cheapest in the end. Given suitable soil, well
prepared, the growing of pineapples is not at all difficult, as the
plants soon take root, and once they became established, they prove
themselves to be extremely hardy. Pines will grow and thrive on
comparatively poor soil, provided it is of suitable texture, but in such
soils it is necessary to supplement the plant food in the soil by the
addition of manures, if large fruit and heavy crops are to be obtained.
Pineapples are propagated by means of suckers coming from the base of
fruit-bearing plants, or from smaller suckers, or, as they are termed,
robbers or gill sprouts that start from the fruiting stem just at the
base of the fruit. They are also sometimes propagated by means of the
crown, but this method is usually considered too slow. Well-developed
suckers are usually preferred, as these come into bearing earliest, but
equally good, if not better, returns are obtained by planting gill
sprouts. The latter have the advantage in that they always develop a
good root system before showing signs of fruit, hence their first crop
is always a good one, and the fruit is of the best, whereas suckers
sometimes start flowering as soon as they are planted, before they are
properly established, with the result that the first fruit is small and
inferior, and the plants have to throw out fresh suckers before a good
crop is produced. Gill sprouts are slower in coming into bearing than
suckers, but the results are usually more satisfactory. Like the banana,
once a pineapple plant has borne fruit the fruiting stalk dies down, and
its place is taken by one or more suckers, which in their turn bear
fruit and die. Pineapples are planted in Queensland in several ways, but
by far the most common method is to set the suckers out in single or
double rows, from 8 to 9 feet apart, with the plants at from 1 to 2 feet
apart in the row. The rows soon increase in width by the growth of
suckers, and the throwing up of ratoons--surface roots thrown off from
the original plant, which send up plants from below the ground as
distinct from suckers, which come from the base or even higher up the
stem of a fruiting plant. It is not at all an uncommon thing to see the
rows grown together, so that the plantation appears to be a solid mass
of plants, but pathways have to be kept between the rows to permit of
gathering the fruit, manuring, &c. Pineapples have been grown in the
Brisbane district for the past sixty years, and I have been shown beds
of plants that have not been replanted for over forty years that are
still producing good fruit. This shows how well at home this fruit is
with us; but, in my opinion, it is not desirable to keep the plants so
long in the same ground, as the finest fruit is always obtained from
comparatively young plantations, the older ones producing too large a
proportion of small fruit. From the Brisbane district this fruit has
spread all over the eastern coast, and its production is increasing
rapidly in several districts. Once the pine is planted, its cultivation
is comparatively simple. If in single or double rows, all weed growth is
kept down between the plants, and the ground between the rows is kept in
a state of good cultivation by means of ploughing or cultivating, the
soil being worked towards the rows so as to encourage the formation of
suckers low down on the fruiting plants. Manure is given when necessary,
the manure being worked in on either side of the rows.

[Illustration: Smooth-leaved Cayenne Pines in fruit, planted 15 months,
Woombye District.]

The pineapple comes into bearing early, and, except where suckers throw
fruit as soon as planted, bear their first crop in from twelve to twenty
months, according to the type of suckers planted and the time of year at
which they are set. Practically every sucker will produce a fruit at the
first fruiting, and these will be followed by succeeding crops, borne on
the successive crops of suckers, so that when the whole of the ground is
occupied by plants, the returns are very heavy. One thousand dozen
marketable fruits is by no means an unusual crop for Queen pines in a
plantation in full bearing, and, taking these at an average of 2-1/2 lb.
each, you get a return of 30,000 lb., or 15 tons American per acre. The
illustrations herewith give a good general idea of the usual method of
growing pines, and the method of handling and marketing, as well as of
the nature of the country on which they are grown. The illustrations
are mostly of smooth-leaved pines, which bear a fruit averaging from 6
to 8 lb. each, but occasionally running up to as much as 14 to 16 lb.,
though the latter is an extreme weight. The single pine shown is just
under 12 lb. Several kinds of pines are grown, which are generally
classified into roughs and smooths. The rough, or rough-leaved pines,
such as the Common Queen and Ripley Queen, and local seedlings raised
from them, are very prolific, and though not equal in size and
appearance to the smooth-leaved Cayenne, our principal smooth-leaved
kind, are usually considered to be of superior flavour, and to be better
for canning or preserving. Rough pines run up to as much as 6 lb. weight
each, but this is uncommon, the best average I have met with being about
4 lb. per pine, and they were exceptionally good. The price at which
this fruit sells here seems absurd to those living in cold countries,
who are accustomed to look upon it as a luxury only found on the tables
of the wealthy, as good rough-leaved pines are worth about 1s. per dozen
during the summer season, and smooth-leaved pines from 1s. 6d. to 2s.
6d. a dozen. Prices are certainly higher during the off-season, but
growers would be well satisfied to get 1s. per dozen for rough pines all
the year round. I have no hesitation in saying that pines can be grown
at a profit at from £3 to £4 per ton, so that the cost of growing is so
low that there is nothing to prevent us from canning the fruit and
selling it at a price that will defy competition.

[Illustration: Pineapple Plantation--Pines packed for market, and
showing fruit-grower's home, Woombye District.]

Pineapple-growing has been a very profitable industry, particularly in
the older plantations of the Brisbane district, and still continues to
be so in many places despite the fact that prices are much lower now
than they were some years since. The plantations from which the
illustrations are taken are comparatively new ones, the land having been
in its virgin state from six to eight years ago, and, as shown, some is
only now being cleared. The owners of the plantations started without
capital, and, by dint of hard work and perseverance, are now reaping an
excellent return of some £50 per acre net profit. This is by no means an
isolated example, but is one that is typical of what can be done, and
has therefore been chosen. There is a great opening for the culture of
this fruit in Queensland, and its cultivation is capable of being
extended to a practically unlimited extent. We have a large amount of
land suitable for the growth of this fruit that is available in
different parts of the State, much of it at very reasonable rates, so
that there is no difficulty in this direction for anyone wishing to make
a start. It is an industry from which returns are quickly obtained, and
is a branch of fruit-growing that holds out strong inducements and every
prospect of success to intending growers. At present our production is
about sufficient for our presently existing markets, but there is
nothing to prevent these markets being widely extended. Our present
means of utilising our surplus fruits, by canning or otherwise
preserving same, are by no means as complete or up to date as they
should be, and before they can become so, it is necessary to greatly
increase our output. Small works cost too much to run as compared with
large canning establishments, hence we are not yet in a position to make
the most of our fruit. With increased production we will have an
increase in the facilities for utilising the fruit. This requires
labour, and there is right here an opening for many industrious
workers, a business that I have no doubt will pay from the start, a
business of which we have the Australian monopoly, and in which there is
no reason that I can see in which we should not compete satisfactorily
in the markets of the world.

[Illustration: Pineapple Plantation--Showing method of growing the
fruit, Woombye District.]

Queensland possesses many advantages respecting the growth of this fruit
as compared with other countries in which it is grown commercially,
which may be briefly enumerated as follows:--

     1st.--Freedom from loss by freeze-outs;

     2nd.--The ease with which the fruit can be grown, and its freedom
     from disease;

     3rd.--The large area of land suitable to its culture, and the low
     price at which suitable land can be obtained;

     4th.--The fine quality of the fruit;

     5th.--The superiority of our fruit for canning purposes;

     6th.--The low price at which it can be produced, and the heavy
     crops that can be grown.

These are enough reasons to show that in the pineapple we have a fruit
well suited to our soil and climate, a fruit in the cultivation of which
there is room for great extension, and which will provide a living for
many industrious settlers.

[Illustration: Rough-leaved Pines, Redland Bay District.]

[Illustration: Pineapple Plantation--On virgin soil, showing scrub land
at back being cleared for fruit growing, Woombye District.]



THE MANGO.


This magnificent fruit, which is practically unknown outside of the
tropics, has become as hardy as a forest tree throughout our eastern
seaboard, wherever it is planted out of frost. It has been named, and
well named too, the apple of Queensland, as it stands as much neglect,
and can be grown with as little care and attention as, or even less,
than that given to the apple-trees in many of the Somerset or Devonshire
orchards. It will not, however, stand frost. Droughts and floods have
little effect on it; it will grow in any soil, from a sand to a heavy
loam, amongst rocks, or on a gravelly or shaley land. Naturally, it does
best in good land, but there are hundreds of cases where trees are doing
well and bearing heavily on land that is by no means fruit land. The
mango is one of our handsomest fruit trees; the symmetry of its growth,
its large glossy leaves, the delicate colouring of its young growth,
which is of different shades in different varieties, the abundance of
fruit that it produces, varying in colour from dull-green to yellow,
red, or even purplish tints, all render it conspicuous. As well as being
one of our handsomest, it is also one of our most widely distributed
fruits, being found growing luxuriantly the whole length of our eastern
seaboard. A few trees are also to be met with inland in districts that
are free from frosts, so that it stands both the dry heat of the
interior and the humid heat of the coast. As a tropical fruit it
naturally reaches its greatest perfection under our most tropical
conditions, the trees there growing practically wild, requiring little
if any attention, making a rapid growth, coming into bearing early, and
producing heavy crops of fruit. Further south the growth is somewhat
slower, though the trees grow to a large size and bear heavily. It is
one of the easiest of trees to grow, as it is readily propagated by
means of seed. In many plantations thousands of young seedlings may
often be seen growing under the old trees, the seeds having taken root
without even having been planted. In most cases it is propagated from
seed, the stones of fruit showing especial merit being planted either in
a nursery, or, better, still, where the tree is to remain permanently,
as it usually does better when so planted than when grown in a nursery
and thence transplanted to its permanent location. The land should be
well worked prior to planting, and the young trees require to be kept
free from weeds and undergrowth till such time as they occupy the whole
of the ground, when they are able to look after themselves, and require
no further attention, at any rate in the warmer parts. It is not at all
uncommon to come across a mango-tree, in full bearing, in vigorous
health, that is growing wild, the result of a stone that has been thrown
away by someone who has eaten the fruit. The young tree has not only
been able to hold its own against all kinds of indigenous growths, but
has developed into a vigorous, healthy tree, thus showing that it is
perfectly at home, and that the soil and climate of Queensland suit it
to perfection. The fact that by far the greater portion of our
mango-trees have been grown from seed has resulted in the production of
innumerable varieties, many of which are of decidedly inferior quality,
as one never knows when planting the seed what the resultant fruit is
going to be like. One is more likely to get good fruit by planting the
seeds from selected fruit of the highest quality, but is by no means
certain to do so, as a number of seeds always revert to inferior types.
This has had a bad effect on our mango industry, and has been apt to
give the fruit as a class a bad name, so much so that we find it
difficult to get our Southern neighbours to take to it at all readily. I
can quite understand anyone, whose first experience of a mango is that
of an inferior fruit, full of fibre, and having a distinctly
disagreeable flavour, condemning the particular fruit, but because there
are inferior fruits one should not condemn the whole without knowing
what a really good mango is like.

[Illustration: Mango Trees, Port Douglas.]

We have many good mangoes in Queensland, but only a few that are really
first-class, and of the latter I have yet to meet the man or woman, who
is a fruit-eater, who does not appreciate their exquisite flavour, and
who does not consider them worthy to rank with any of the finest fruits.
By many a really fine mango is considered to be the king of fruits, and
I am not at all certain that they are not right, but, at the same time,
a really bad mango is indescribably bad.

The mango grows to a large size here, even when comparatively young. I
know trees over 50 feet in height, having a spread of the branches of
more than 60 feet, a main trunk nearly 3 feet in diameter, that are
under thirty years old, and that have borne from 1 to 2 tons of fruit
for a single crop. Hundreds of tons of fruit go to waste annually for
want of a market, or are consumed by farm animals, as the consumption of
the fruit is practically confined to this State, and the production is
greater than we can consume, despite the fact that mangoes are in season
from the end of September to March, and that they are a favourite fruit
with all who have acquired a liking for them. In addition to the
consumption of the fruit in its fresh state, a quantity is converted
into chutney, but this is so small that it has no appreciable effect on
the crop as a whole. The unripe fruit makes an excellent substitute for
apples, and is used stewed or for pies or tarts, and when sliced and
dried it may be stored and used in a similar manner to dried apples.

[Illustration: Mango Tree near Brisbane.]

In addition to its value as a fruit, the mango forms a handsome
ornamental tree, and one that provides a good shade for stock. It is
very free from disease, as with the exception of one or two species of
scale insects, which do not cause any very serious damage, it has few
serious pests. It is a fruit that is bound sooner or later to come into
more general favour, particularly when the qualities of the finer
varieties are better known. Until quite recently it was considered to be
one of the most difficult trees to propagate by means of grafting or
budding, hence its propagation has been practically confined to raising
it from seed, but now we have found out how to work it by means of
plate-budding, and are able to perpetuate our best sorts true to kind.
This is sure to lead to a general improvement of our existing varieties,
as old trees can be worked over by this means, or young trees of
approved kinds can be grown in a nursery and distributed.

The fruit is very wholesome, is much appreciated by all who have
acquired a taste for it, can be used fresh or dry, ripe or unripe, and
cans well. It is a great addition to our list of purely tropical fruits,
and finds a place in all orchards or gardens where it is capable of
being grown.



THE MANGOSTEEN.


Many attempts have been made during past years to introduce this
delicious fruit into Queensland, but these always resulted in failure.
True, a certain variety of mangosteen has been successfully grown at
Port Douglas, also on the Lower Burdekin, and rumours of the existence
of the true Java mangosteen (_Garcinia mangostana_) have been received,
but, in nearly every case, they have, on investigation, proved to be
_Garcinia xanthochymus_, or some other species. At the Kamerunga State
Nursery, however, trees of undoubted parentage were successfully raised.
It is said that a thriving young plant, which is unquestionably
_G. mangostana_, is owned by Mr. Banfield, of Dunk Island. The records of
the Kamerunga Nursery show that in October, 1891, a quantity--about
100--of ripe mangosteen fruit was received from the Batavian agency by
the then manager, Mr. Ebenezer Cowley, from which some 600 seeds were
obtained. Of these, only a few germinated. The next mention is of the
distribution, in February, 1892, of six plants to an applicant on the
Mossman, and of two more in May of that year. Since then several young
trees have been raised at the nursery, and one of them, in January,
1913, fruited for the first time for twenty-two years, and is the first
to have done so in this State. Some of the fruit was sent to the
Department of Agriculture and Stock, and proved to be fully equal to
those of Java. A full history of the mangosteen and of its introduction
into Queensland is given in "The Queensland Agricultural Journal"
(vol. xxx., June and July, 1913). The photographs were taken from the
original fruit.

[Illustration: Fruit of Mangosteen.]



THE PAPAW.


Continuing our list of tropical fruits, we now come to the papaw, one of
our most wholesome and useful fruits. It is grown all along our eastern
seaboard in situations that are free from frost. It comes into bearing
early, and is a heavy cropper. Like the other tropical fruits already
described, it does best in our warmer parts, coming to maturity earlier,
and producing better fruit. In many of the Northern coastal scrubs it is
often met with growing wild, and producing fruit in abundance, the seeds
from which the trees have been produced having been dropped by birds or
distributed by other natural agencies. The papaw fruit resembles a rock
melon somewhat in shape and flavour, the fruit being produced in the
axil of the leaves all along the main stem, where they are clustered
thickly together. The tree does best on well-drained soils, and is very
sensitive to the presence of clay or stagnant water at the roots, hence
it usually does best on scrub land or land well supplied with humus. It
is propagated entirely from seed, which grows readily in such soils, and
under favourable conditions will bear its first fruit when about ten to
twelve months old, and continue to bear for three or four years or even
longer. When the trees becomes old, however, the fruit decreases in size
and deteriorates in quality, so that it is necessary to plant a number
yearly in order to keep up a regular supply. It is a very handsome tree,
with large spreading leaves on long stems, beneath which is its cluster
of fruit--as many as 100 fruits being sometimes found in different
stages of development on the one plant. The fruit ranges in size from 2
lb. to some 6 lb. in weight, and when ripe it is of a greenish-yellow or
sometimes orange colour. The flesh is yellow, and when quite ripe it is
moderately juicy, and of a flavour that it not always appreciated at
first, but which one soon becomes very partial to. It more nearly
resembles the flavour of a rock melon than that of any other fruit, and
the seeds, which are found clustered in the centre of the fruit, have a
flavour that closely resembles that of seeds of the nasturtium. Both the
seeds and the fruit contain an active principle called papain, which is
really a vegetable pepsin, that has the effect of greatly assisting in
the assimilation of all food with which it is eaten, hence it is a
valuable remedy in the case of dyspepsia, and persons who take the fruit
regularly are never subject to this exceedingly troublesome disease. The
fruit can be used both as a vegetable and as a fruit, the former in its
green state, when it is boiled and served with melted butter, resembles
a vegetable marrow or squash, but is superior to either of these
vegetables. As a fruit it is either used by itself, or in conjunction
with other fruits it forms the basis of a fruit salad. It is largely
used in the North, and its cultivation is steadily spreading South, as
its valuable properties are becoming better known. Its cultivation is
very simple. The seeds are either planted where the tree is to remain,
or are raised in a bed and transplanted to their permanent position in
the orchard when strong enough to stand shifting, care being taken to
select a dull moist day. The young plants are protected from the sun for
a few days till they have become established, after which all that is
necessary is to keep down weeds and to work the soil round them,
taking care not to injure the roots. A good mulch of decomposed
vegetable matter round the plants is an advantage, but they are usually
so easily grown that little extra care is given to them. The papaw bears
male and female flowers, which may be on the same trees, but are usually
on different trees, so that it is usual to speak of male and female
trees. This is, however, a mistake, as according to Bailey the plant is
polygamous--that is to say, male, female, or hermaphrodite flowers may
be found on the same or on distinct plants. The male flowers are usually
on long scantily-branched auxiliary panicles, whereas the female flowers
are mostly in the axils of the leaves close to the stem. The two trees
are not distinguishable from each other till they come into flower,
hence it is advisable to set the young plants fairly close
together--say, 6 feet apart--and thin out the male trees when same can
be distinguished by their blossoms.

Besides its use as a fruit and vegetable, the papaw makes a fair
conserve and an excellent sauce, and its medicinal principle, "papain,"
is an article of commerce.

[Illustration: Papaw in fruit, near Brisbane.]



THE COCOA-NUT.


Although this palm can be grown for ornamental purposes as far south as
Brisbane, its cultivation on commercial lines will be confined to the
coast district north of Townsville, and to the islands off the coast,
as, in order to develop its fruit to perfection, it requires a tropical
climate. Where the climate is suitable it does well, it makes a rapid
growth, and bears heavy crops of nuts. Old palms on the beach at Cairns
compare favourably with any growing in the South Seas, and I am of
opinion that its culture in commercial quantities on suitable land will
be found profitable. The cocoa-nut palm does best right on or adjacent
to the seashore, in comparatively poor sandy soil--soil that is usually
of little value for general crops, though it will grow mangoes well. So
far, it is not grown in any large numbers, and although there is a ready
sale for the ripe nuts, there is no attempt to make copra or to utilise
the coir. Copra is the dried flesh of the nut, from which oil is
extracted, and is largely used in the manufacture of soap, candles, &c.,
the refuse left after the oil has been extracted being used for cattle
feed. Coir is the fibre surrounding the nut, and is used for the
manufacture of matting, door mats, &c.

There is a considerable area of land suitable to the culture of this
fruit on our Northern coast, which is at present lying idle, that, in my
opinion, can be turned to a profitable use by planting it in cocoa-nuts
as, in addition to utilising land otherwise of little value, we would be
building up a new industry. The trees come into bearing in about eight
years after planting the seed, and will continue to produce crops for
many years without any attention. Care will have to be given for the
first few years, whilst the plants are small, to keep down undergrowth
and to prevent fires from running through the plantation, but, once
fairly established, the plants will look after themselves. A cocoa-nut
plantation gives a distinctly tropical look to the district in which it
is grown, and the palms, particularly when young, are very ornamental;
when old the long bare stems detract somewhat from the beauty of the
top. It is a palm that I believe has a good future before it in the
North, and for that reason I have included it amongst our tropical
fruits, though it is cultivated at present more as an ornamental plant
than as an article of commerce.

[Illustration: Cocoa-nut Palms, Port Douglas.]



THE GRANADILLA.


A vine, belonging to the natural order Passifloreæ, that produces one of
our most delicious tropical fruits. The papaw and the passion fruit
belong to this same order. It can be grown all along our eastern
seaboard, but comes to greatest perfection in the North. The fruit is of
a pale greenish-yellow colour, cylindrical in shape, and varies in
weight from about 1 to 5 lb., the largest fruits being produced on a
sub-species. The fruit consists of an outer pulpy covering, which can be
used for cooking if desired, which surrounds a cavity filled with seeds
which are encased in a jelly-like mass. This is the portion eaten, and
to use an Americanism, "It is not at all hard to take." It is either
eaten by itself, or is used in conjunction with papaw and other fruits
to make a fruit salad, a dish that is fit for the food of the gods, and
once taken is never forgotten.

The granadilla is easily grown from seed, and the plants are trained on
an overhead trellis, the fruit hanging down on the underside. It is a
heavy bearer, and once planted requires little attention. It requires a
free, warm soil, that is fairly rich, to be grown to perfection, hence
it is most commonly grown on scrub land. It can, however, be grown on
any well-prepared land of a free nature. Unfortunately, it is a
difficult fruit to ship any distance, hence its consumption is mainly
confined to the districts in which it is grown, and where, needless to
say, it is greatly appreciated. It is in fruit more or less all the year
round, its main crop being in early spring in the North, and during the
summer months further South. It is sometimes made into jam or jelly, but
when preserved loses much of its characteristic flavour.

[Illustration: Granadilla Vine at Kuranda, Cairns district.]



THE PASSION FRUIT.


This fruit is very closely related to the granadilla, but is much
hardier than it, and can be grown to perfection much further South. It
is not injured by frost to any extent in any part of coastal Queensland,
and can be grown a considerable distance inland. It is more rightly a
semi-tropical than a tropical fruit, though, as it is so nearly related
to the granadilla, I have included it amongst the tropical fruits. It is
also a vine, and, when grown commercially, is trained along a horizontal
trellis, in a somewhat similar manner to a grape vine. It is readily
grown from seed, and will produce fruit in less than twelve months from
the time that it is planted, and will continue to bear fruit for some
years. It does best on a free, warm soil of fair quality, though it may
be grown anywhere with care, and often thrives well in very poor soils
with the addition of manure. It is found growing wild on the borders of
many of our scrubs and elsewhere, the seeds having been deposited by
birds or other agencies, and under such conditions it produces an
abundance of fruit. The fruit is of a roundish oval shape, and is of a
dark-purple colour. It is about the size of a large hen's egg, the outer
skin being hard and shell-like, and the centre filled with the seeds,
which are surrounded with a jelly-like mass and a yellowish pulp. It is
a very fine flavoured fruit, and is universally liked. It is grown in
considerable quantities in the Southern part of the State, and is one of
our commonest fruits. It has usually two crops a year--a summer and a
winter crop--but can be got to produce its fruit at any particular time
that is desired by systematic pruning at different times of the year. It
is often grown over sheds, dead trees, fallen logs, &c., which it covers
with a mass of dense green foliage, and converts what would otherwise be
an unsightly object into an ornament. The illustration herewith shows
this well, and gives a good idea of the growth of a single vine.
Commercially it is grown on trellis, so that the land between the rows
can be kept well cultivated, and also to permit of ease in the gathering
of the fruit. When ripe, the fruit drops, and the gathering is usually
from the ground. The fruit carries well, but will not keep for any
length of time, as it shrivels up. It is principally used as a fresh
fruit, though it is also made into jam or jelly, and it often forms part
of a fruit salad, taking the place of the granadilla. It has few pests,
and is one of the easiest fruits to grow.

[Illustrations: Passion Fruit, Redland Bay--Showing method of culture (1)
and part of a vine in fruit (2).]



CUSTARD APPLES.


Under this heading I will include all the Anonas, such as the sour sop,
sweet sop, bullock's heart, and cherimoya. The sour sop is purely
tropical, and is very sensitive to frost, but the other species are by
no means so tender, and can be grown anywhere along the coast where the
soil is suitable, as well as at many inland places. All the species
produce very fine fruits, that vary somewhat in shape, in the roughness
of the skin, and in size. The sour sop is the largest, and attains a
size of 6 to 8 lb. The fruit is covered with soft spines, and is of an
irregular oval, or even pyriform, shape. It ripens very soon after it is
gathered, consequently cannot be sent any distance. It is a pleasant
fruit of an aromatic sub-acid flavour. The pulp surrounding the seeds is
of a woolly consistency, and this is surrounded by a custard-like mass
which is much appreciated by those who have acquired a liking for it. It
is a comparatively uncommon fruit, and is confined to the tropics.

The sweet sop is the commonest of the Anonas, and is grown throughout a
considerable part of coastal Queensland. It is usually of an irregular
roundish shape, very full of seeds, which are surrounded by a
custard-like pulp of very pleasant flavour. It is usually a heavy
bearer, and is the variety most commonly met with in our fruit stores.
The tree is hardy and is easily grown.

The bullock's heart is a stronger-growing variety than the previous one,
the fruit is larger, and, as its name implies, heart-shaped. It is also
fairly seedy, the pulp of a light-brown colour, and more gritty, and
not, in my opinion, of first-rate quality. It is most commonly grown in
the North, where it is a very hardy and prolific tree.

The cherimoya is the best of the custard apples. The tree is a strong
grower, with large handsome leaves, but, as a rule, it is not a very
heavy bearer. There are many varieties, the fruit of which varies
considerably in size and shape, and the skin is sometimes smooth and
sometimes warted, or even covered with short soft spines. It has
usually comparatively few seeds, and these are surrounded by a rich
custard-like pulp, which in the better kinds is of very fine flavour,
and is generally much liked. The fruit is not a good keeper, still,
given careful handling and packing, it can be kept for nearly a week.
All custard apples are easily raised from seed, but the better varieties
are propagated by grafting strong seedlings with wood taken from a tree
producing fruit of especial merit. Any good fruit soil will grow them,
and they do not require any especial treatment.

[Illustration: Custard Apples, Brisbane District.]

There are still a large number of tropical fruits that I have not
mentioned, but space will not permit of my giving them more than a
passing notice, as they are not of any great value from a commercial
standpoint at present. Of these fruits the litchi, whampee, averoha,
longan, vi-apple, and Chinese mangosteen are practically confined to the
North. The guava, of which there are many species, grows anywhere; in
fact, it is a pest in many cases, taking complete possession of the
land. It is not cultivated to any great extent, as it grows so readily
without, and, further, it harbours several pests whose presence it is
desirable to remove from the orchard. It is a useful fruit for home
consumption, as it stews well, makes an excellent jam, and its jelly is
one of the best.

The rosella, a species of hibiscus, is an annual fruit that is grown to
a considerable extent in several parts of the State, and is used for
pies, jams, and jellies. The latter is remarkably good, equal to that
made from the red currant of colder climes, and will no doubt become an
article of export at no very distant date. The fruit also dries well,
and makes an excellent pickle. It is raised from seed, the young
seedlings being set out in well-prepared land when all danger of frost
is past. It is a rapid grower, and forms a bush some 4 feet across by 4
or 5 feet high. It is a heavy bearer, and the fruit meets with a ready
sale. To do well, the plants require a warm, free, well-drained soil, as
they do not thrive where there is any stagnant water at or near the
roots.

The avocado or alligator pear is not grown to any extent, though it
thrives well, particularly to the north of the tropic of Capricorn, and
can also be grown successfully as far south as the New South Wales
border. It is a fruit that deserves to be cultivated to a much greater
extent than it is at present, and once it becomes better known I have no
doubt that it will be planted in considerable numbers, and prove a very
welcome addition to our already long list of fruits, as it is
unequalled, in my opinion, as a salad. As far as my experience goes, it
is likely to become a profitable fruit to grow, as once persons acquire
a liking for it, they become very partial to it, and eat it whenever
they can get it.

In addition to purely tropical fruits a number of semi-tropical fruits
are grown on our eastern seaboard, but are not entirely confined
thereto, as many of them are cultivated to a considerable extent in some
parts of our coastal and inland tablelands, particularly in sheltered
positions. Under the heading of semi-tropical fruits, all kinds of
citrus fruits, persimmons, loquats, date palm, wine palm, pecan nut,
Brazilian cherry, Natal plum, ki-apple, and many other fruits are
included, as well as several fruits that more properly belong to the
temperate regions, such as Japanese plums, Chickasaw plum, peaches of
Chinese origin, figs, mulberries of sorts, strawberries, cape
gooseberries, &c. Of all of these the citrus fruits, which include the
orange, mandarin, Seville, lemon, lime, grape fruit, kumquat, citron,
and pomelo are by far the most important, and are grown successfully
over a very large portion of the State, so that we will consider them
first.

[Illustration: Sour Sop, Mossman District.]



CITRUS FRUIT.


Quite a number of fruits are included under this heading, and all reach
a very high state of perfection in this State. The whole of the family,
the lemon-shaped citron excepted, is noted for the beauty and symmetry
of growth that its trees make, and I know of few more beautiful sights
in the vegetable world than a well-kept citrus grove in full bearing.
Take the common round orange as an example, its well-balanced and evenly
grown head, its dark glossy green foliage, its wealth of white blossoms,
which perfume the whole neighbourhood, or its mass of golden fruit
between its dark-green leaves, render it one of the most beautiful of
fruit trees at all times, but especially so when covered with blossoms
or ripe fruit. A typical Queensland grove is even more beautiful than
those of many other places, as the vigour and size of our trees, their
exceptionally healthy appearance, their dark foliage, and the heavy crop
of high-class fruit that they bear, are at once evident to a stranger
who has never seen the orange grown under such favourable conditions as
are experienced here. The yield is often so heavy that the trees
actually bend to the ground with the weight of their fruit, and a
stack of props has to be used to prevent the tree from splitting into
pieces. Those who have seen the enormous crops of apples that are
produced on some trees in Tasmania or the old cider orchards of Devon or
Somerset can form an idea of the crops; but the writer, who has seen
both, as well as our Queensland trees, has no hesitation in saying that
a Queensland mandarin can give points to either as a heavy cropper; in
fact, if it has a fault, it is its proneness to overbear, particularly
when young. This all tends to prove how well adapted Queensland is to
the growth of citrus fruits, and were I asked to select a country
particularly suited to their culture I should have no hesitation in
naming this State, as I know of nowhere where their culture can be
carried out with less trouble, or where the trees will produce better
fruit or heavier crops. Queensland may well be termed the home of citrus
fruits, as we have no less than three native species which are
indigenous to the State, and are by no means uncommon in our scrubs.
Their presence gives unmistakable proof of the suitability of this State
for the culture of fruits of the same family, so that I think a short
description of these native species may not be out of place, but will be
of some interest to my readers.

[Illustration: Young Orange Orchard (6 years old) on scrub land, near
Mapleton, Blackall Range. Showing the standing scrub in the background.]

_Citrus australis_, the native orange or lime, is both the largest and
most common. It grows into a large tree, having a diameter of 15 to 18
inches in the trunk, and a height of 60 feet or more. It produces a
quantity of thick-skinned acid fruit, of from 2 to 3 inches in diameter.
The skin is full of a resinous sap, and the fruit is of little value. It
is a slow-growing tree, though, as just mentioned, it attains a
considerable size, is very hardy, and produces a quantity of fruit. Its
slow growth, when young, has prevented its use as a stock on which to
work improved varieties, but I have no doubt it would make a very hardy
stock that would be distinctly disease-resistant.

The second variety is _Citrus australasica_, the so-called finger lime,
a thorny bush, producing a fruit of from 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, and
3 to 4 inches long. The fruit has a thin skin, and contains an agreeable
acid pulp that varies in colour, in some specimens being of a reddish
tinge that resembles the pulp of a blood orange. These two varieties are
met with in the Southern part of the State, but the third is a Northern
species, to which Mr. F. M. Bailey, our Colonial Botanist, has given the
name of _Citrus inodora_, the North Queensland lime. It is met with in
the scrubs of the Russell River, and is described by Mr. Bailey as
bearing a greater resemblance to the cultivated species than the two
former varieties. It produces a fruit over 2 inches long by 1-1/4 inches
in diameter, having a thin rind and a juicy pulp of a sharply acid
flavour, so that even in its wild state it is a desirable fruit, and
takes the place of the cultivated lemon. Where native species flourish
as they do here, there is every probability of cultivated species
thriving equally well, and this is found to be the case in practice.

[Illustration: A young Orange Orchard, Woombye District.]

No fruits are more generally distributed or have a wider range in this
State than those of the Citrus family, as, with the exception of the
colder parts of the Downs, where the winter temperature is too low, the
Gulf country, and the dry Western districts, where there is no water
available for irrigation, they can be grown from one end of the State to
the other, provided that they are planted in suitable soil, and that, in
the drier parts, there is an available supply of suitable water with
which to irrigate them during the prevalence of long dry spells. The
country adjoining the eastern seaboard, extending from the Tweed River
in the South to Cooktown in the North--a distance of about 1,100 miles,
and extending inland for nearly 100 miles--is naturally suited to the
growth of citrus fruits, and there is probably no country in the world
that is better adapted to, or that can produce the various kinds of
these fruits to greater perfection or with less trouble, than this
portion of Queensland. Of course, the whole of this large area is not
adapted for citrus culture, as it contains many different kinds of
soils, several of which are not suitable for the growth of these fruits,
and there is also a large extent of country which is too broken and
otherwise unsuitable. At the same time there are hundreds of thousands
of acres of land in this area in which the soil and natural conditions
are eminently suited to the growth of citrus fruit, and in which the
tenderest varieties of these fruits may be grown to perfection without
the slightest chance of their being injured by frost; and where the
natural rainfall is such that, provided the trees receive ordinary care
and cultivation, there is seldom any necessity for artificial
irrigation. At the present time there are hundreds of citrus trees
growing practically wild in different parts of the coastal country that
are in vigorous health and producing heavy crops of good fruit, even
though they are uncultivated, unpruned, unmanured, and have to hold
their own against a vigorous growth of native and introduced shrubs,
trees, and weeds. When the orange, lime, citron, or common lemon become
established under conditions that are favourable for their proper
development, they apparently become as hardy as the indigenous plants,
and are able to hold their own against them, thus showing how well the
climate and suitable soils of coastal Queensland are adapted for the
cultivation of citrus fruits. The commercial cultivation of citrus
fruits is at present practically confined to this coastal area, the most
important centres, starting from the South, being Nerang, Coomera,
Redland Bay, Brisbane, Enoggera, Gatton, Grantham, Toowoomba, North
Coast line from North Pine to Gympie including the Blackall Range and
Buderim Mountain; the Wide Bay district, including Maryborough, Tiaro,
Mount Bauple, Gayndah, Pialba, and Burrum; the Burnett district,
including Bundaberg and Mullet Creek; the Fitzroy district, including
Rockhampton and Yeppoon; Bowen, Cardwell, Murray River, Tully River,
Cairns and district, Port Douglas, and Cooktown. In addition to these
districts a few citrus fruits are grown at Mackay, Townsville, and
several other places. Citrus fruits are also grown further inland, but
their cultivation here is largely dependent on the ability to supply the
trees with suitable water for irrigation during dry spells. Frosts have
also to be taken into consideration, for, though the days are warm, the
temperature often falls considerably during the night, owing to the
great radiation, and citrus-trees in districts like Roma, Emerald, &c.,
are liable to injury thereby. West of Emerald, at Bogantungan,
Barcaldine, and other places, citrus fruits do very well with
irrigation. Some of the finest lemons, Washington Navel, and other
improved varieties of oranges are grown here to perfection, the lemons
especially being of high quality, and curing down equal to the imported
Italian or Californian article. The soil in many of the inland districts
is well suited to the culture of citrus fruits, and when the trees are
given the necessary water, and are uninjured by frost, they produce
excellent fruit. I stated, some short distance back, that there is
probably no country in the world that is better adapted to the
cultivation of or that can produce the various kinds of citrus fruits to
greater perfection or with less trouble than the eastern seaboard of
Queensland. To many of my readers this may seem to be a very broad
statement; but I am certain that, if suitable trees are planted in the
right soil and under favourable conditions, and are given anything like
the same care and attention that is devoted to the culture of citrus
fruits in the great producing centres for these fruits in other parts of
the world, we have nothing to fear either as regards the cost of
production or the quality of the fruit produced. In order to exemplify
this, it may be interesting to compare our capabilities with those of
the principal citrus-producing districts north of the equator. To begin
with, I will take Florida, which more nearly approaches our climatic
conditions than any other citrus-growing country that I know of, and
which is noted for the excellence of its citrus fruit, and we find that
we have all its advantages except that of proximity to the world's
markets, without its disadvantages. We have a better and richer soil,
requiring far less expensive artificial fertilisers to maintain its
fertility, and at a very much lower price. We can grow equally as good
fruit; in fact, it is questionable if Florida ever produced a citrus
fruit equal in quality to the Beauty of Glen Retreat Mandarin, a
Queensland production. We get as heavy, if not heavier, crops, and our
trees come into bearing very early. We have no freeze-outs similar to
those which have crippled the industry in Florida so severely in the
past that many of their wealthy growers are actually covering in whole
orchards of many acres in extent as a protection from frost. This
covering-in is accomplished by means of a framework of timber having
slat-work or panel sides and tops--in fact, by enclosing their orchards
in a huge elaborate bush-house, which is further protected by the heat
produced by six large heating stoves or salamanders to each acre of
trees enclosed. If it pays the Florida growers to go to all this expense
in order to prevent freeze-outs and to produce first-class fruit, surely
we can compete with them when a seed stuck in the right soil under
favourable conditions will produce a strong, vigorous, healthy tree,
bearing good crops without any attention whatever.

[Illustration: An Orange Orchard, near Woombye.]

[Illustration: Orange Trophy in the Moreton District Exhibit at the
Brisbane Exhibition.]

In comparing Queensland with the citrus-producing districts of Southern
Europe, we have the advantage of better and cheaper land, absence of
frost, more vigorous growth, earlier maturity of the trees, and superior
fruit; but with the advantage of cheaper and more skilful labour,
especially in the handling and marketing of fruit, and proximity to the
world's markets in their favour.

As compared with California, our soil is no better than theirs, but it
costs much less, and their citrus industry is dependent on artificial
irrigation, their natural rainfall being altogether inadequate for the
growth of citrus fruits. Californian conditions more nearly approach
those of our inland districts, such as Barcaldine, with the exception
that the only rainfall in California is during the winter, whereas in
Barcaldine and similar districts the heaviest fall is during the summer
months, but, in both, the successful culture of these fruits depends on
irrigation.

In Jaffa, also, where the oranges are of large size and extra quality,
the trees have to be carefully irrigated and manured, as these
operations are found to be essential to the production of marketable
fruit.

These few instances show how favourably the conditions prevailing in
Queensland compare with those of the great citrus-growing districts of
Europe and America, especially in the matter of soil and climate, and I
feel confident that, if the industry were taken up in the same
business-like manner that it has been done in California and Florida, we
could easily hold our own against any part of the world. In comparing
Queensland with the rest of the world we have the advantage--also shared
by New South Wales and South Africa--of ripening our fruit at a time of
the year which is the off season in the citrus-producing countries to
the north of the equator, so that our fruit does not clash with theirs,
their ripening period and ours being at different times of the year. As
regards our Australian market, our fruit ripening earlier than that of
the Southern States, we are enabled to dispose of a considerable portion
of our crop in the Southern markets before the local fruit is ready for
gathering. This gives us three markets--first, a local one; secondly, a
Southern one; and, finally, when this demand is supplied, an oversea
market to Europe, America, and the East.

When grown under favourable conditions, citrus-trees are heavy bearers
in this State, it being no uncommon thing to meet with seedling or
worked orange-trees of from ten to twelve years of age producing over
twenty cases of marketable fruit to the tree, averaging about 10 dozen
medium-sized fruit.

[Illustration: Bunch of Valencia late Oranges, Blackall Range District.]

[Illustration: Washington Navel Oranges, Barcaldine District, Central
Line.]

Citrus-trees of all kinds, particularly worked trees, come into bearing
very early, and the returns obtained from an orchard rapidly increase.
The illustrations give a good idea of the rapid growth, and a fair one
of the crop of fruit the young trees are bearing, but the following
examples, taken at random for the crop that was marketed in January,
1906, will show better how our trees bear:--

     Mr. A., Blackall Range, marketed 7-1/4 cases per tree from a row of
     twenty-five Beauty of Glen Retreat Mandarins, planted April, 1900.
     A return of £1 10s. per tree.

     Mr. B., from the same district, averaged 7 cases of Washington
     Navel Oranges per tree from trees six years old, which realised £1
     15s. per tree, and 8 cases of Beauty of Glen Retreat Mandarins from
     trees of the same age. The navels were large, and averaged 5 dozen
     per case, and the mandarins 10 dozen per case.

     Mr. C, another district, averaged 6 cases of Valencia Late Oranges,
     from trees six years planted, and 10 cases per tree from Emperor
     Mandarins, nine years old.

     One twelve years old orange-tree in this district produced over 25
     cases of fruit.

     Mr. D., same district as last; Washington Navels averaged 10 cases
     per tree, ten years planted, and have borne regular crops since
     three years old.

Numerous other cases might be given, but the above are sufficient to
show the earliness at which our trees bear, and the crops they yield.
Trees in full bearing often yield up to 40 cases, but these are usually
old seedlings, which bear a very heavy crop one year and a comparatively
light crop the next. All the instances I have quoted are from worked
trees, which are found to give the most regular and constant yields.
Until quite recently, citrus-trees were almost entirely grown from seed
in this State, with the result that we have a very large number of
types, and many crosses between different species. This was not
advisable, as a uniformity in type is desirable for marketing, hence the
greater number of trees now being planted are of selected varieties of
proved merit. Many of the seedlings have produced most excellent fruit,
but a seedling has usually the disadvantage of being very full of
seeds, and having a lot of rag (the indigestible fibre round the pulp)
as compared with the worked varieties, which have either no seeds or
very few seeds and little rag. Seedlings are also of many types, and
they produce a lot of small fruit, thereby making an uneven sample,
whereas worked trees produce fruit even in size and quality. Seedlings
are probably the hardiest, and will stand the most neglect, but
experience is showing that worked trees are the most profitable to grow.
The growth of all kinds of citrus-trees from seed is a very simple
matter, all that is necessary being a well-prepared seed bed of friable
soil that is partially shaded from the heat of the sun, so as to protect
the young plants. Selected, fully ripe fruit from well-grown, prolific,
healthy trees is taken, and the seeds sown in rows in the seed bed, or
broadcast when weeds are not likely to be any trouble. Fresh seed
germinates quickly, and the young plants are soon ready to be
transplanted into the nursery bed, where they are either worked over or
allowed to remain seedlings. At twelve months old, from seed, a tree
will have a stem-diameter of about 3/4-inch, and a height of 3 to 4
feet, a growth about twice that made in the Southern States.

The general remarks I have given respecting our fruit soils apply with
equal force to those best adapted for citrus culture--viz., they must
possess perfect drainage, and be of a friable nature. We are growing
most of the best varieties of citrus fruit, the original trees from
which they are now being propagated having been introduced into the
State from the most celebrated citrus-producing districts in the world,
and, as stated and shown by the accompanying illustrations, they are all
doing well.

The Washington Navel, the variety of orange most commonly grown in
California, does remarkably well on our rich volcanic scrub soils, where
it has proved itself a regular bearer of high-class fruit. The
Mediterranean Sweet Orange, Valencia Late, and Jaffa also do well in
many parts, the Valencia Late adapting itself to most districts. Many
other kinds of oranges are grown, but the varieties mentioned are some
of the best, and are the ones now being planted in the greatest
quantity.

[Illustration: Spray of Orange Blossom.]

In mandarins, all kinds do remarkably well, and I never saw this fruit
produced to greater perfection in any part of the world than it is in
Queensland. The varieties most commonly grown are: The Emperor or
Canton, the Scarlet or Scarlet Emperor, Thorny or Tangerine, and Beauty
of Glen Retreat, though there are many types of seedlings in addition to
these well-known sorts. The grape fruit which is now so popular in
America does well, but, so far, has not taken on in our markets. Citrons
grow practically wild, and produce good fruit, for which there is a
limited demand for peel. Their cultivation could be extended with ease
were there a better demand for peel. The Seville Orange, which is used
for the manufacture of marmalade, is an exceptionally hardy and prolific
tree, and, were it required, we could easily grow enough of this fruit
to supply the world. Lemons do best inland, or at an elevation of some
2,000 feet above sea-level, as this fruit is apt to become too coarse in
the skin when grown in a humid climate. In suitable localities very good
fruit can be grown, which compares very favourably with the European or
American grown fruit.

The lime does well in the more humid districts, taking the place of the
lemon, and one variety--the Tahiti--has proved itself to be a heavy and
regular bearer. The West Indian lime, from which the lime juice of
commerce is made, is very easily grown, particularly in the more
tropical parts, where it is often met with growing in an entirely
uncultivated condition, and bearing heavy crops of fruit. Kumquats are
easily grown, and are heavy bearers, and all the different types of
pomelos or shaddocks do well. Seedlings of the latter are very hardy, as
they are deep-rooted plants that stand dry weather well and are,
consequently, not liable to injury during dry spells. There is very
little demand for the fruit, but I am of opinion that the seedlings will
prove to be of value as stocks on which to work our best kinds of
oranges.

The culture of all kinds of citrus fruits, when grown in suitable soil,
is by no means difficult, as it consists mainly of keeping the land well
stirred and keeping down all weed growth during dry spells, the keeping
of the trees well pruned out in the centre, and the keeping in check of
all diseases, both insect and fungus. Although citrus fruits are subject
to many pests, they are for the most part easily kept in check by either
spraying or cyaniding, or both, provided that reasonable care is taken,
and the pests are destroyed before they have obtained control. Taken as
a whole, our citrus fruits are remarkably clean, and compare more than
favourably with those grown in the Southern States. The culture of these
fruits is extending rapidly, with a corresponding increase in
production, but, despite this, our prices have been better during the
past season than for some years, as the quality of our fruit is such
that it will command a good market. When properly handled, it has good
keeping qualities, and I have no doubt that we will, in time, be able to
supply the markets of the Old and New Worlds with good fruit, in the
best of condition, at the time of the year that their markets are bare
of locally-grown citrus fruit.

There is a good opening for the growth of citrus fruits in this State,
as the writer knows of no country where they do better, where they can
be produced with as little trouble and expense, where they can be
successfully grown over such a large area, or where the soil and climate
is more suited to the production of fruits of the highest quality as in
Queensland.

[Illustration: Lisbon Lemon, Esk District.]



THE PERSIMMON.


This exceedingly handsome fruit of Japanese origin is grown to a high
state of perfection in this State, particularly in the coastal districts
south of the tropic of Capricorn. It is a fruit of comparatively recent
introduction, the oldest trees being less than thirty years of age, but
has already become widely distributed, as well as a favourite fruit
amongst many. It is a very showy fruit when well grown, but must be
thoroughly ripe before it is eaten, as, if not, it is extremely
astringent, and anyone who has tackled an unripe fruit has no wish to
repeat the experience in a hurry. There are many varieties of this
fruit, some of which are seedless, and others more or less seedy. The
seedless kinds are usually preferred, as, as well as being seedless,
they are the largest and handsomest fruit. The different kinds vary
considerably in the size of tree, habit of growth, foliage, size and
colour of fruit, &c. All are easily grown, and most kinds are good and
regular bearers. They do well on any fruit soil, and some of the
dwarf-growing kinds are well adapted for growing in private gardens, on
account of the small amount of room they take up. The trees are
deciduous, and, as a rule, are not much troubled with pests. So far, the
use of the fruit is confined to its consumption fresh, though in Japan
it is dried in a similar manner to apricots or peaches.

[Illustration: Persimmons.]



THE LOQUAT.


A handsome evergreen tree, that can be grown in the more Southerly coast
districts, in the foothills of the coast range, and on the coast
tablelands. There are several types of the fruit, whose chief value
consists in that it ripens its fruit in early spring, when there is a
shortage of stone fruits, and that it withstands wind well, so makes a
good break for the protection of exposed orchards. Its cultivation is
not extensive, nor is it likely to become so.

[Illustration: Fruit of Loquat (1/2 natural size).]



THE DATE PALM.


Although this extremely valuable fruit is grown in this State more as an
ornament than for its commercial value, there is nothing to prevent its
culture on a scale sufficiently large to supply the Australian
requirements. It is grown in many places along the coast, as well as in
the foothills country of the coastal range, but it does best in
situations that more nearly resemble its natural habitat--viz., in
districts having a hot dry air, a deep sandy loam or sandy soil, and a
good supply of moisture in the soil. This latter condition does not
occur naturally, but can be supplied artificially in our Western lands,
where there is a good supply of artesian water of a quality suitable to
the plants' requirements. Here the date palm thrives, and produces huge
bunches of fruit. Little, if any, cultivation is necessary when once the
palm is firmly established; provided it has an ample but not excessive
supply of moisture, it is able to take care of itself.

The date palm is a dioecious plant--that is to say, the male organs,
or stamens, are produced on one plant, and the female organs, or
pistils, on another, and this necessitates the growing of the two sexes
in proximity to each other, in order that the female flowers may be
fertilised and produce perfect fruit. This is best accomplished
artificially, the pollen from a fully developed bunch of male flowers
being shaken over the bunch of female flowers. Infertile fruit contains
no seeds, and is of small size and inferior quality, whereas the fertile
fruit is both large and good.

The date palm is a handsome ornamental plant, and in the hot and dry
Western districts, where it thrives best, it forms a splendid shelter
from the sun for both man and beast. So far, very little attention has
been given to its growth, few persons knowing how to fertilise the
flowers or even taking the trouble to see that they have plants of both
sexes. There is no reason why this should be so, as there would be a
good local demand for the properly-cured fruit, and I believe that, were
its culture carried out in a thorough business manner, it would become a
profitable industry, and one capable of supplying our Australian market.

[Illustration: Date Palms in fruit at Barcaldine.]



THE PECAN NUT.


Another little-known fruit which does well in this State. It belongs to
the hickory family, and closely resembles the walnut. There are trees
now growing in the Maryborough district that are some 15 inches in
diameter at the trunk, and from 40 to 50 feet in height, that bear
regular and heavy crops of nuts, and that have stood drought and been
under flood. For years the trees have received no cultivation, and they
have shown themselves to be as hardy as the adjacent indigenous trees.
The trees are easily raised from seed, and come into bearing in about
eight years. Like all nut fruits, it is advisable to set the nut where
the tree is to remain permanently, if it is possible to do so, as it
produces a very deep taproot, with few laterals, and is consequently
difficult to shift. The soil on which it does best is an alluvial loam,
and, if possible, it should not be more than 30 feet to water, as the
tree, being a very deep rooter, will penetrate a free soil to that
depth. It will do on other free loamy soils, but will not make the same
growth as when planted in free alluvials. It has been tested in several
parts of the State, and it is probable that it will be found to thrive
over a considerable area of the coastal and coastal tablelands
districts. It produces an olive or acorn shaped nut, having a thin
shell, and of a flavour closely resembling that of a good walnut, and
will be a valuable addition to our list of nut fruits once it becomes
better known.

[Illustration: Date Fruit (natural size).]



JAPANESE PLUMS.


All varieties of this fruit thrive well and bear heavily in the more
Southerly part of our coast country, as well as on the country
immediately adjacent to it, the coastal tablelands, and several other
parts of the State. The trees are rapid growers, come into bearing very
early, and often bear enormous crops of fruit. They are good fruits for
home consumption or for the fresh-fruit trade, but are not equal to
European varieties of plums for preserving, drying, or jam-making. In
this State they have one very great drawback, and that is their
liability to the attack of the fruit fly, a pest that very frequently
destroys the entire crop. For home use they are, however, a very useful
fruit to grow, provided that the trees are kept dwarf, so that they can
be covered with a cheap mosquito netting as a protection from the fly,
as they are very easily grown, are by no means particular as to the kind
of soil on which planted, and are heavy bearers.



CHICKASAW PLUMS.


This family of American plums does well in the same districts as the
Japanese varieties just dealt with, but has the advantage of being
resistant to the fruit fly. The trees are usually more or less
straggling growers, the fruit is of small size, but good for cooking or
jam-making. One or more of the varieties of this plum are bad setters,
though they blossom profusely, but this may be overcome either by
working two varieties which bloom at the same time on to the same stock,
or by planting varieties that bloom at the same time together, as the
pollen from the one will set the fruit of the other. It is a good plum
for home use or marketing, despite its small size, as it is easily
grown, requires little attention, and is not over particular as to soil.



CHINESE PEACHES.


Peaches of Chinese origin thrive well on the coast, and are extremely
hardy. The fruit is not, as a rule, of high quality when compared with
that of the Persian varieties, but their earliness and ease with which
they can be grown causes them to be planted by many who have small
gardens. Like the Japanese plums they are, however, very subject to the
attack of fruit fly, and require to be kept dwarf and covered in a
similar manner if any good is to be got from them. On the coast, they
are practically evergreen, as they never lose their leaves entirely,
and are in blossom during the winter. When grown on the tablelands, this
early blossoming is a disadvantage, as the blossoms are liable to be
injured by frost, but in these districts peaches of Persian origin can
be grown instead.



FIGS.


Several kinds of figs can be grown successfully in the Southern coast
districts, the first crop ripening before Christmas, but the second or
main crop is often a failure, owing to the fact that it ripens during
our wet season, and the fruit consequently sours and bursts. As one
recedes from the coast, the fruit does better, and is less liable to
injury from excessive wet. The coastal tablelands and the more Western
Downs grow it well, and the trees, when planted on soil of a rich
friable nature, grow to a large size and bear heavily. Many varieties
are grown, which are used fresh or converted into jam, but no attempt
has been made to dry them, though it is possible that this industry may
eventually be found profitable in the drier parts of the State, where
there is water available for the trees' use at certain periods of the
year, but not during the fruiting period, as it cannot well be too dry
then if a good quality of dried figs is to be turned out. This fruit is
easily grown, and is not at all subject to serious pests, so that anyone
who will take reasonable care can produce all that is required for home
use or local sale, as its softness renders it a difficult fruit to ship
long distances in a hot climate.



THE MULBERRY.


This is one of the hardiest fruits we have, one of the most rapid
growers, and one of the most prolific. There are several varieties in
cultivation, and those of Japanese or Chinese origin will grow from the
coast to the interior, and thrive either in an extremely dry or humid
climate. The common English or black mulberry does not do too well as a
rule, though there are many fine trees scattered throughout the State,
but the other sorts are as hardy as native trees. The fruit is not of
any great value, still, as it is so easily grown, it finds a place in
most gardens, and in time of drought the leaves and young branches are
readily eaten by all kinds of stock, so that it is a good standby for
stock as well as a fruit.



THE STRAWBERRY.


To those who have been accustomed to look upon the strawberry as a fruit
of the purely temperate regions, it will be somewhat of a revelation to
know that exceptionally fine fruit can be grown right on the Queensland
coast, and well within the tropics, and that on the coast, between the
26th to the 28th degrees of south latitude, we are probably producing as
fine fruit and obtaining as heavy crops as are produced in any of the
older strawberry-growing countries. Not only this, but that we are able
to supply the Southern markets of Australia with finer fruit than they
can produce locally, and at a time of the year that they cannot grow it.
As I have already mentioned when dealing with other fruits, one thing
that particularly impresses strangers is the early age at which our
fruits come into bearing. This is borne out in the case of the
strawberry to a marked degree, as runners set in April fruit in July,
and often earlier, and will continue to bear, given reasonable weather,
right up to Christmas or even longer. New plants are set out every
year, and the plantation is seldom allowed to stand more than two years,
as the young plants produce the finest fruit. There is a good demand for
the fruit, the larger berries being packed in flat cases holding a
single layer of fruit, as shown in the illustration, and being sold for
consumption fresh, whereas the smaller berries are packed in kegs and
sent direct to the factories for conversion into jam. The strawberry
grows well on various soils, but does best with us on a rich loam of
medium texture, of a reddish-brown or even black colour. It should be
planted in districts that are free from frosts where early fruit is
desired, as frosts injure the blossoms, but where jam fruit only is
wanted this is not so necessary. The land requires to be thoroughly well
prepared, and the plants are usually set out in rows about 2 feet
apart, with the plants about 1 foot apart in the row. Under favourable
conditions they grow very rapidly, and soon start flowering. Their
cultivation is usually confined to comparatively small areas of 2 or 3
acres in extent, as the labour of picking and packing is usually done by
the grower himself with the assistance of his family. They are often
planted between the rows of trees in young orchards, thus bringing in a
return whilst the trees are coming into bearing, and helping to keep the
pot boiling. They grow well on our coastal scrub lands, and have proved
a great assistance to many a beginner, as one has not long to wait
before obtaining a return.

[Illustration: Strawberry Garden, Mooloolah District.]

The productiveness of this fruit in Queensland is phenomenal, as high as
5 tons of berries having been taken off 1 acre in a single season. There
are many varieties of strawberries in cultivation, some of which have
been produced locally from seed, and have turned out extremely well,
being of better flavour, stronger growers, and heavier bearers than
introduced varieties--in fact, local seedlings have adapted themselves
to local conditions, and stand our climate better than those varieties
which are natives of colder countries.

[Illustration: Marguerite Strawberry.]

[Illustration: Marguerite Strawberry packed for market.]

The case berries, which are used for fresh consumption, fetch a fair
price, especially early in the season, but jam fruit sells at an average
of 2-1/2d. per lb., at which price it pays fair wages, but is not a
bonanza. As a rule the plants are very healthy, and any fungus pests to
which they are subject, such as leaf blight, are easily kept in check by
spraying, a knapsack pump being used for this purpose. The ground is
kept well worked and free from weeds, whilst the plants are fruiting,
and occasionally the ground is mulched, as is the case in the plot shown
in the illustration. No special knowledge is necessary for their
culture, but, at the same time, thorough cultivation and careful
attention to details in the growing of the plants make a considerable
difference in the total returns.

[Illustration: Forman's Strawberry, Brisbane District.]



CAPE GOOSEBERRY.


This Peruvian fruit, introduced into this State _viâ_ the Cape of Good
Hope, hence its name, has now spread throughout the greater part of the
tropical and semi-tropical portions of Queensland. Its spread has
largely been brought about by the agency of fruit-eating birds, that
have distributed the seeds widely by means of their castings. It is one
of the first plants to make its appearance in newly burnt-off scrub
land, and often comes up in such numbers as to give a full crop of
fruit. In other cases it is usual to scatter a quantity of seed on such
land, so as to be sure of securing a plant. No cultivation is given; the
plant grows into a straggling bush bearing a quantity of fruit which is
enclosed in a parchment-like husk. The fruit is gathered, husked, and is
then ready for market. The bulk of the fruit is grown in this manner,
and as it can be grown on land that is not yet ready for any other crop
(grass or maize excepted) it is a great help to the beginner, as a good
crop and fair prices can usually be obtained. The name "gooseberry" is
somewhat misleading, as it is not a gooseberry at all, is not like it,
nor does it belong to the same natural order. It is a plant belonging to
the order Solanaceæ, which includes such well-known plants as the
potato, tomato, tobacco, &c., and altogether unlike the common
gooseberry, which, by the way, is one of the fruits that we cannot do
much with. In addition to being grown in the wild manner I have
described, it is occasionally cultivated in a systematic manner,
somewhat like the tomato, but not to any extent; growers preferring to
depend on it as a first return from newly fallen and burnt-off scrub
land. As a fruit it meets with a very ready sale, as it is one of the
best cooking fruits grown; plainly stewed and served with cream, made
into puddings or pies, or converted into jam, it is hard to beat. The
jam has a distinct flavour of its own, one that one soon becomes very
partial to, besides which it is an attractive-looking jam that, were it
better known in the world's markets, would, I feel sure, meet with a
ready sale at satisfactory rates. The plant is somewhat susceptible to
cold, hence it does best in a district free from frost, but it is not
killed out by light frosts, only killed back, and its crop put back.
Like all plants belonging to the same natural order, it likes a good
soil, rich in available potash, and this is probably the reason why it
does so well on newly burnt-off scrub, the ashes of which provide an
ample supply of available potash.



THE OLIVE.


A much-neglected fruit in this State, as it is also in most
English-speaking countries. Few English people are fond of either the
fruit or the oil, and yet it is probable that there is no tree that for
the space it occupies will produce a greater annual return of food than
the olive. A number of trees are scattered throughout the State, some of
which are now of large size and fair age, but, so far, practically
nothing beyond making a few gallons of oil and pickling a few gallons of
fruit has been attempted, and this only in a purely experimental manner.

The present condition of the olive industry is destined to have a
wakening up ere long, as a country that can produce this fruit in such
quantities and of such a quality as the lighter soils of the Darling
Downs is destined some day to be one of the largest producers of olives
on earth. Some years since I planted a number of the best varieties of
olives--trees obtained direct from California--on the Darling Downs, in
land that I considered suitable for their growth, and which was properly
prepared prior to planting. The trees here have made a really phenomenal
growth, they came into bearing within three years of planting, and have
borne steadily ever since. They have proved enormous bearers, and an
experimental crushing showed that the oil was of high quality.

There are large areas of similar country to that in which they are
planted in different parts of the State, and I feel certain that this
really valuable food fruit is bound some day to be a considerable source
of our national wealth. So far, the drawback to the growth of olives has
been the cost of gathering the fruit and the limited demand for the oil
or pickled fruit, but, against this, it has many advantages, one, and by
no means the least, of which is its value as a shade and shelter tree on
our open treeless plains. It is also a very hardy tree, withstanding
drought well, and thriving in land that is too stony for the cultivation
of ordinary farm crops. It is a healthy tree, free from most fruit pests
other than the olive scale, which can be kept in check by spraying or
cyaniding; and last, but not least, it is an ornamental tree whose wood
is of considerable value. The olive does best with us in loamy soils of
fair depth and basaltic origin, that are moderately rich in lime and
potash, and have a fair drainage. A subsoil of decomposed rock answers
well. It will, however, do on several other kinds of soil, but it is in
the type that I have just described that it does so well, and in which I
would recommend its culture on a large scale. It will stand a fair
amount of frost as well as great heat, and I have never seen the trees
injured by either on our Downs country. I have also seen trees doing
well right on the coast, where they have been subject to heavy
rainfalls, so that it appears to adapt itself to the conditions
prevailing in many parts of our State.

In addition to the fruits I have briefly described, there are several
others of minor importance that can be grown successfully, but, as they
are not of any great value commercially, I will leave them out, and go
on to the fruits of our more temperate districts, as, in addition to
growing the tropical and semi-tropical fruits which I have already dealt
with, Queensland can also produce temperate climate fruits to a very
high degree of perfection.

The fruits of the temperate regions that we are able to grow include the
apple, pear, plum, prune, quince, apricot, Persian peach, nectarine,
almond, walnut, chestnut, cherry, &c., as well as some of the hardier
fruits which I have classed as semi-tropical--viz., the Japanese plum,
persimmon, Chickasaw plum, strawberry, &c. The districts adapted for the
growth of the distinctly temperate fruits are mostly situated in the
Southern portion of the State, and at an elevation of from 2,000 to
3,000 feet above sea-level--districts having a warm summer but a
comparatively cold winter, during which frosts are by no means uncommon,
but where snow rarely falls; a healthy climate, with warm days and cool
nights, to which many visitors go during the heat of summer, when the
humidity of the coast is somewhat trying to persons not naturally
robust. The Downs country, particularly its southern or Stanthorpe end,
is the most suitable; the soil is mainly of granitic origin, and is very
suitable for the growth of apples, stone fruit, and grapes, but the
latter I will deal with by themselves later on. The country is by no
means rich from an agricultural standpoint, and is considerably broken,
but, as already stated, it is admirably adapted for the growth of fruit,
and within the last ten years at least 100,000 fruit trees, mostly
apples, plums, and peaches, have been planted out and are doing well.
The Stanthorpe show, which is held annually during the month of
February, is always noted for the excellence of its fruit exhibits,
which would be hard to beat, both for size, quality, and appearance. The
fruits ripen earlier than similar varieties grown in the Southern
States, hence supply our markets at a time when there is little outside
competition, and, consequently, meet with a ready sale at fair prices.
The fruit grown in the largest quantity is the apple, so I will deal
with it first.



THE APPLE.


As a description of this well-known and universally used fruit is
entirely superfluous, I will confine my remarks to the types of fruit
grown, and their method of growth. Owing to the fact that our fruits
ripen much earlier than similar varieties in more southern parts of
Australia, we have gone in largely for early varieties of apples, both
for cooking and table use, but have not confined our attention to them
entirely, as good-keeping sorts are found to do equally well, and have
been shown at the annual exhibition that is held in Brisbane during
August, in perfect condition, showing that the fruit has good keeping
qualities. The soil on which the apple is mostly grown is largely
composed of granitic matter, and is of a sharp, sandy, loamy nature,
often of a gritty character. It is usually rich in potash, the
predominating felspar being orthoclase, but somewhat deficient in
nitrogen and phosphoric acid. It is usually easy to work, of fair depth,
and retains moisture well when kept in a thorough state of tilth. The
trees are usually planted at from 20 to 25 feet apart each way, when
they are either one year or two years old from the graft or bud. They
are headed low, so as to shade the ground from the heat of the sun, and
also so as to facilitate the handling of the crop when grown, as well as
to prevent their swaying about with the wind. The trees make a rapid
growth, come into bearing very early, often bearing a fair crop three
years after planting, and fruiting even earlier. The fruit of the early
varieties has usually a handsome appearance, but lacks keeping
qualities, but the later fruits are both handsome, high-coloured fruit,
and good keepers. The trees are not very liable to disease, as, thanks
to all varieties being worked on blight-resistant stocks, there is very
little American blight (woolly aphis). Scale insects do a certain amount
of damage, but are easily kept in check by winter spraying, and codling
moth is not bad unless grossly neglected, many orchards being quite free
from this great pest of the apple-grower. So far, the growing of apples
has been confined entirely to the growing of fruit for the local
markets, no attempt having been made to export same. A very small
quantity is dried, and a little is used for jelly.

Many varieties of apples have been tested in this State, but growers
have found out that it pays them best to confine their attention to
comparatively few sorts that have proved to be the best suited to the
soil and climate, as a few good kinds are much more profitable to grow
than a mere collection of varieties. Many varieties are prone to
overbear, and trees of large size have produced enormous crops of fruit,
whereas young trees frequently break down under the weight of their
crop. The usual plan is to plant a few varieties that ripen in
succession, so as to extend the season over as long a period as
possible, and not to cause a glutted market at any one time. Early
fruits particularly are not noted for their keeping qualities, and a
market glutted with such would entail a heavy loss to growers, hence a
succession of varieties that suit the district as well as the market is
grown.

Nearly all kinds of apples do well, those that are resistant to the
attack of woolly aphis are, however, generally chosen in preference,
even though they may not be of the highest quality, as their
prolificness and freedom from this pest renders them more profitable
than varieties of superior quality that are liable to blight, and that
are at the same time often somewhat indifferent bearers. It is outside
the scope of this paper to go into the question of varieties, but I may
mention that such sorts as Irish Peach, Gravenstein, Summer Scarlet
Pearmain, Twenty-ounces, Jonathan, Lord Suffield, Rome Beauty, and
Prince Bismarck do remarkably well, and many other well-known kinds can
be grown to perfection.

[Illustration: Prince of Pippins Apple, Darling Downs District.]



THE PEACH.


This king of the temperate fruits grows with us to perfection. The tree
is hardy, a rapid grower, comes into bearing early, and is, if anything,
inclined to overbear. It can be grown over a considerable part of our
coastal and inland downs, as well as the Stanthorpe district, and
thrives in many kinds of soil, from light sandy loams of poor quality to
rich loams of medium texture or even heavier. In this State, the peach
is always grown on peach roots, the desired variety being either budded
or grafted on to a seedling peach, and the resulting tree is planted out
when it has made one year's growth. No tree is easier to grow, but if
the best returns are desired, it requires very careful pruning for the
first three years, after which an annual winter pruning is usually all
that is necessary. The young tree is such a strong grower that unless it
is heavily cut back it becomes top-heavy and breaks to pieces with the
weight of fruit, but when hard cut back for the first two years, so that
it has a good main stem and strong primary branches, it will form a
strong tree, and stand up well under a heavy crop of fruit. The strong
growth it makes necessitates heavy pruning when large fruit is
desired--and it is large showy fruit which sells best here--as were the
tree allowed to go unpruned, it would bear enormous numbers of fruit,
many of which would be of small size. Growers now realise this, and many
of our orchards are well pruned, whereas a few years since the trees
were allowed to grow pretty much as they like.

The peach remains profitable much longer here than it does in
California, as the trees do not wear out so quickly, the roots remaining
sound up to the last, so that, unless the top is too far gone, the life
of the tree may usually be extended for several years by heading hard
back and forming an entirely new head to the tree. Trees in full bearing
often produce fully 1,000 lb. weight of fruit in a single season. This
is, of course, very much above the average, but by no means exceptional.
When in their third season, they should bear enough to pay for all
working expenses.

A very large number of varieties have been tested in Queensland, most of
which do well, but, as in the case of apples, we find from experience
that it is best to stick to a few kinds, and those that have proved to
be most suitable to our soil and climate, rather than to experiment with
a large number of varieties.

The usual plan is to plant a number of varieties that ripen in
succession, as with the apple, so as to spread the season over as long a
time as possible, and to stick to kinds that bear well, look well, and
ship well, for appearance will usually beat quality, and fetch more
money.

So far, little has been done in the way of utilising the peach, as the
demand for the fresh fruit has been equal to our supply. There is,
however, no reason why we should not be able to establish and maintain
a fair canning and drying trade, should the production overcome the
demand for the fresh fruit, as our peaches are of large size, and will
can and dry well--that is to say, varieties adapted to those purposes
will do so.

The nectarine, which is simply a smooth-skinned peach, does equally
well, many varieties bear heavily, and some produce fruit of exceptional
merit. I have seen as fine nectarines grown in the Stanthorpe district
as I have met with in any part of Australia or America, fruit of large
size and the highest flavour, that compared favourably with the finest
hothouse-grown fruit of the Old World.

[Illustration: Peach Avenue, Darling Downs District.]



THE PLUM.


As already mentioned, plums of Japanese and American origin (Chickasaw)
do well in the more coastal districts. They also bear heavily on our
coastal downs and more western country, but some kinds of Japanese plums
blossom too early for the Stanthorpe district. European plums, however,
do well, and are heavy bearers. All kinds do not bear heavily, the
freest bearers being those of the damson family--White Magnum Bonum and
Diamond type. Prunes also do well. Plums of European origin do best in
the coldest districts, but their cultivation is not confined entirely to
these, as some varieties thrive well in warmer and drier parts of the
country. So far, there has been a ready sale for all the plums we can
produce for fresh consumption, excepting some of the smaller plums of
the damson type, which have been converted into jam. It is not a fruit,
however, in which there is much money, as it is too easily grown in the
Southern States, and can there be converted into jam or canned at a
lower rate than we can do here, hence our cultivation will be more or
less confined to the growing of large fruits for supplying our local
markets rather than to the production of the fruit in quantity.



THE APRICOT.


Most varieties of this fruit do well on our coastal downs country in the
South, and to a certain extent further west. The trees are very rapid
growers, and bear heavily. The earlier ripening fruit usually escapes
damage from fruit fly, but the late fruit often suffers considerably.

The apricot does best in a fairly strong rich soil, when it makes a
great growth, and bears heavy crops of large-sized fruit. It also does
well on sandier soils, which produce a firmer and better-drying fruit.
So far, although a number of trees are planted throughout the State, the
cultivation of the fruit is mainly confined to the production of table
fruit, drying or canning having been carried out to a small extent only.
The apricot grows to a large tree, and lives to a good old age. Like the
peach, it is a very vigorous grower when young, requiring severe pruning
in consequence, but, when once shaped, the trees require little in the
way of pruning other than the removal of superfluous branches and an
annual shortening in winter.



THE CHERRY.


Queensland is almost outside the limit of the successful growth of this
fruit, but not quite, as we produce the first fruit to ripen in
Australia, which realises a high price on account of its earliness. Many
varieties have been tested, but, so far, no one variety can be said to
be a complete success in our climate, nor do the trees grow to the large
size or produce as heavily as they do in the Southern States, where the
winters are more clearly defined than they are in Queensland. Another
drawback to the growth of this fruit is that the soils of our coldest
district are not the best of cherry soils. The cherry likes a deep,
moderately rich loam, whereas we are growing it mostly on sandy loams of
a granitic origin. What fruit we do grow is good, and pays well on
account of its earliness, but I do not consider that this State will
ever be able to compete with the South in the growth of the cherry.

[Illustration: Litchi, Mossman District.]



THE PEAR.


Many kinds of pears do well, but, unfortunately, this fine fruit is very
liable to be attacked by fruit fly. It does well generally in the
districts that I have mentioned as suitable for the apple, plum, and
apricot. The tree is healthy, grows rapidly and to a large size. It
comes into bearing remarkably early as compared with the pear in colder
climates, and produces excellent fruit. I have grown as good Bartletts
here as could be obtained anywhere, and the trees have proved to be good
bearers and doers. This fruit does best on deep soils of a medium to
strong loamy nature, and of good quality, though it does well in much
freer soils, but does not make as good a growth or bear as heavily. It
is usually grown on seedling-pear stocks, but the growing of suitable
varieties on quince stocks and keeping the resultant trees dwarfed is to
be recommended. This method of growing the pear does well here, and
dwarf trees can be easily protected from fly, whereas it is practically
impossible to deal with big trees, which the pear becomes when grown on
pear roots.



THE ALMOND.


This fruit does well in parts of our coastal tableland country, though
its habit of blossoming too early in the season renders it very liable
to injury from late frosts. The trees do remarkably well, grow rapidly,
and bear heavily when the blossoms are uninjured by frost, hence it is a
good tree to grow in selected situations containing suitable soil, as it
commands a ready sale, and is very little troubled with pests. A free,
sandy, loamy soil is best suited to the growth of the almond, and the
situation should be well protected from frost. The trees are usually
worked on peach stocks, on which they make a very rapid growth. Several
varieties should be grown together, as a better set of fruit will be
obtained by doing so, most almonds requiring the pollen of another
variety flowering at the same time to render their flowers fertile. The
almond grows into a handsome, shapely tree, and, when in blossom, an
orchard is a sight not easily forgotten, the wealth of flowers being
such that it must be seen to be fully appreciated.

The walnut, chestnut, quince, blackberry, raspberry, and one or two
other fruits of the temperate regions are also cultivated to a small
extent, but are of no great value so far, though there is no reason why
the walnut, which does well with us, should not be cultivated to a much
greater extent than it is, as there is always a fair demand for the
nuts. Blackberries of different kinds have been introduced, and do well,
the common English blackberry almost too well, as unless kept in check
it is apt to spread to such an extent as to be a nuisance. In addition
to the cultivated fruits I have briefly mentioned as growing in
Queensland, we have a number of native fruits growing in our scrubs and
elsewhere that are worthy of cultivation with a view to their ultimate
improvement. Of such are the Queensland nut, a handsome evergreen tree,
bearing heavy crops of a very fine flavoured nut. The nut is about
3/4-inch in diameter, but the shell is very hard and thick. It could no
doubt be improved by selection and careful breeding. The Davidsonian
plum is also another fruit of promise. It is a handsome tree of our
tropical North coast, and bears a large plum-shaped fruit of a dark
purple colour, with dark reddish purple flesh, which is extremely acid,
but which is well worth cultivation. Several species of eugenias also
produce edible fruit, and there are two species of wild raspberries
common to our scrubs. There are the native citrus fruits I referred to
in an earlier part of this paper, as well as several other less
well-known fruits that are edible.

[Illustration: Tamarind Tree, Port Douglas District.]



GRAPE CULTURE.


No work on fruit-growing in Queensland, however small, would be complete
without due reference being made to the vine, the last but by no means
the least important of our many fruits. Although the cultivation of this
most useful and popular fruit has not reached to anything like the
dimensions that vine culture has attained in the Southern States,
particularly in the production of wine, there is no reason why it should
not do so at no very distant future. We have many advantages not
possessed by our Southern neighbours in the culture of the grape, the
first and most important of which is that our crop ripens so much
earlier than that of the South that we can secure the whole of the early
markets without fear of any serious opposition. Until quite recently,
grape culture was in a very backward state in Queensland, the grapes
grown on the coast being nearly all American varieties, which are by no
means the best wine or table sorts. A few grapes of European origin were
grown on the Downs and in the Roma district, but their cultivation was
practically confined thereto. Now, however, things have altered very
much for the better. Many good varieties of European grapes have been
proved suitable to the coastal climate of the Southern half of the
State, and many inland districts other than Roma and the Downs have also
proved that they, too, can and do grow first-class fruit both for table
and wine.

[Illustration: Grosse Kölner Vine in Fruit, Roma District (Gros
Colman).]

[Illustration: Picking Grapes, Roma.]

Now the culture of the grape extends over a great part of the State,
from the coast to the interior; in the latter, its successful growth
depending on the necessary suitable water for irrigation, and on the
coast to our knowledge of how to keep fungus pests, such as anthracnose,
in check by winter treatment and spring spraying.

In the Brisbane district many kinds of excellent table grapes are now
grown, which meet with a ready sale, such as the well-known Black
Hamburgh of English vineries, the Sweetwater, Snow's Muscat Hamburgh,
Royal Ascot, &c., as well as all the better kinds of American grapes,
such as Iona, Goethe, Wilder, &c. A little wine is made, but more
attention is given to table fruit.

[Illustration: A Grape Vine in Fruit, Stanthorpe District.]

[Illustration: Madresfield Court Grape.]

In the Maryborough, Gympie, and Bundaberg districts, similar grapes are
also grown, and do well, ripening somewhat earlier than they do in
Brisbane; and in the Rockhampton district, right on the tropic of
Capricorn, some of the best table grapes I have seen in the State are
produced. Further north a few grapes are grown, but not in any great
quantities, and I consider that the profitable cultivation of good table
grapes on the coast extends from our Southern border to a short distance
north of the tropic of Capricorn and inland to all districts where there
is either a sufficient rainfall or a supply of water from artesian
bores, or otherwise, to enable them to be grown. Grapes here, as in
other parts of the world, like moderately rich, free, loamy soils of
good depth, free sandy loams, and free alluvial loams. In such soils
they make a vigorous growth, and are heavy bearers. The granitic soils
of the Stanthorpe district, that produce such good peaches, plums, and
apples, grow excellent grapes, which ripen late. They are of large size,
and conspicuous for their fine colour. The sandy soils of Roma and the
Maranoa country generally grow excellent wine and table grapes, the
latter being of large size, full flavour, and handsome appearance. Wine
grapes also do well here, and some excellent wine has been made, both
dark and light, natural and fortified. I have no doubt that eventually
good rich port and the best of sherries will be produced in this
district, as the soil and climate are admirably adapted to the
production of these classes of wine. Our difficulty, so far, has been to
find out the exact kinds of grapes to grow for this purpose, but now I
am glad to say that we are on the right track, and the excellence of
Queensland ports and sherries will be a recognised thing before many
years are past. There is a big and good opening for up-to-date
viticulturists in this State. We have any amount of suitable land at low
rates, and, thanks to the generous sun heat of our interior, we can grow
grapes capable of producing wines equal to the best that can be turned
out by Spain, Portugal, or Madeira. In those districts that do not
possess such an extreme climate, such as the coastal downs and the
Stanthorpe districts, good wines of a lighter character can be produced,
and, as already stated, good wines are now being made on the coast.

It is only now that we are beginning to realise the value of the grape
to Queensland, as, until our production increased to such an extent that
our local markets were being over-supplied, our growers made no attempt
to supply outside markets. Now this is being done, and better means of
handling and packing the fruit, so as to enable it to be shipped long
distances, are now coming into vogue. With improved methods of handling
and packing, we have a greatly extended market, in which we will have no
local competition, hence will be able to secure good returns, so much so
that I consider that grape-growing in Queensland has a very promising
outlook for some years to come at any rate. In addition to growing
grapes to supply the fresh-fruit trade and for winemaking, our western
country is capable of producing good raisins and sultanas. So far, this
industry has not been entered into commercially, the fresh fruit
realising far too high a price for it to pay to convert it into raisins.
Still, with increased production, this will have to take place, and when
it does I am of opinion that we will be able to turn out a very saleable
article. The growing of grapes here certainly requires considerable
experience of a practical nature. This is not at all hard to obtain, and
there are no insurmountable difficulties to the beginner, once he has
learnt how to work his land so as to cause it to retain moisture during
a dry spell, and to plant and prune his vines. These are matters in
which any beginner can obtain practical advice from the Queensland
Agricultural Department, as the Government of Queensland, recognising
the importance of fruit-growing, grape-growing, and general agriculture
to the State, have devoted considerable sums of money to the
establishment of experiment farms, orchards, and vineyards in different
parts of the State. All these Government institutions are under the
control of thoroughly qualified managers, who are willing at all times
to give any assistance to beginners, thereby enabling the latter to keep
free from mistakes, and to obtain the best returns as the result of
their labour. Instructors, thoroughly conversant with the State as a
whole, are also available for giving practical advice, so that there is
no necessity for a beginner, through lack of experience, to waste any
time in finding out for himself what his soil and climate are suited
for. He can start on the right lines from the beginning, and keep to
right lines if he will only take advantage of the advice, based on
practical experience, that is given him. Queensland is a good land for
the intending fruit-grower. We offer you good soil, a choice of
climates, suitable for the growing of practically every kind of
commercial fruit, a healthy climate to live in, cheap land, free
education for your children, and free advice from competent experts for
yourselves. This is a country that has not been advertised or puffed up;
that is, in consequence, not by any means well known; but it is a
country that, taken all in all, will take a lot of beating when one is
looking out for a home. Its natural advantages and the other inducements
it offers to intending settlers, particularly those interested in fruit
culture, cannot, in my opinion, be equalled, and certainly not excelled,
elsewhere; and, as I stated in the beginning of this paper, my opinion
is based on practical experience gained in various parts of the
fruit-producing parts of the world.

[Illustration: Black Mammoth Grape.]

[Illustration: Cinsaut Grape.]



List of Fruits Grown in Queensland.


     Almonds, several varieties
     Almond, Fiji
     Apples, many varieties
     Apricots, many varieties
     Averrhoa
     Avocada Pear
     Bael Fruit
     Banana, several varieties
     Barberry
     Blackberry
     Brazilian Cherry
     Bread Fruit
     Burdekin Plum
     Carob Bean
     Chalta
     Cherries, several varieties
     Chestnut--Spanish
     Chestnut--Japanese
     Chinese Raisin
     Citrons, several varieties
     Cocoa-nut, many varieties
     Custard Apples (Cherimoyers)
     Dates
     Davidsonia Plum
     Figs, several varieties
     Gooseberries--Cape
     Gooseberries--Otaheitan
     Granadillas
     Grapes, many varieties
     Guavas, many varieties
     Jujube
     Kai Apple
     Kumquat
     Litchi
     Longan
     Lemons, several varieties
     Limes, several varieties
     Loquats
     Mandarins, several varieties
     Mangoes, many varieties
     Mangosteen--Sour or Coochin York
     Medlars
     Melons, many varieties
     Monstera
     Mulberries, several varieties
     Natal Plum
     Nectarines, several varieties
     Olives, several varieties
     Oranges, many varieties
     Papaw, several types
     Passion Fruit, several types
     Peaches--Persian, many varieties
     Peaches--China, several varieties
     Peaches--Ceylon, several varieties
     Pears, many varieties
     Pecan Nut
     Persimmons, several varieties
     Pineapples, several varieties
     Pistachio Nut
     Plums--European, several varieties
     Plums--Japanese, several varieties
     Plums--American, several varieties
     Pomegranate
     Quince--European, several varieties
     Quince--Japanese
     Queensland Nut
     Raspberries, several types
     Rosellas
     Rose Apple
     Sapodilla Plum
     Shaddock or Pomelo, several types
     Star Apple
     Strawberries, many varieties
     Tamarinds
     Tree Tomato
     Vi Apple
     Walnut
     Whampee



List of Vegetables Grown in Queensland.


     Artichokes--Jerusalem and Globe
     Asparagus
     Beans of all kinds
     Beetroot
     Broccoli
     Brussels Sprouts
     Cabbage
     Cabbage--Chinese
     Capsicums
     Cardoons
     Carrots
     Cassava
     Cauliflowers
     Celery
     Chicory
     Chokos
     Cress
     Cucumbers
     Earth Nuts (Peanuts)
     Egg Plant
     Endive
     Eschalots
     Garlic
     Herbs--all kinds
     Horseradish
     Kohl-rabi
     Leeks
     Lettuce
     Mushrooms
     Mustard
     Nasturtiums
     Ockra
     Onions
     Peas
     Potatoes--English and Sweet
     Pumpkins
     Radishes
     Rhubarb
     Salsify
     Seakale
     Spinach
     Squashes
     Sweet Corn
     Swedes
     Taro
     Tomatoes
     Turnips
     Vegetable Marrows
     Yams


By Authority: ANTHONY JAMES CUMMING, Government Printer, Brisbane.





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