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Barkly East district, Eastern Cape

Client:HR Giddy


Lauriston, comprising Lauriston, Ashton, and Beddyelut, should be a veritable paradise for the fisherman and sportsman, and it is certainly a good proposition from a commercial point of view. The property is owned by Mr. H. R. Giddy, J.P., and contains 6,000 morgen (5137.8Ha) (one farm, Kelvin Grove, of 1,500 morgen (128.45Ha), lying 12 miles (19.31km) away). At Lauriston about 50 acres (20.23Ha) are cultivated in lucerne and other crops for winter feed, and wheat, oats, barley, rye, mealies, and turnips are also grown for use on the property. The sheep number 6,500, and are Tasmanian, with Southey's rams, one of which is Hillmoor (late Punch II.), sired by Punch I. out of Daisy. There are in all 85 flock rams of the Southey strain, and Mr. Giddy has a stud flock of about 200, which are all kept pure and fed in winter. The cattle number 350, and are Friesland cross-bred, with a Friesland bull, Schullenberger, who gained three champion prizes, and was imported by the Imperial Cold Storage Company, Cape Town, from Holland. It is intended to run a stud herd later, and Mr. Giddy has a good fountain at the homestead for watering purposes, and a stone and cement tank holding 6,000 gallons (27,240lt). A few horses are kept, including a stallion, Venture, sired by Victor Don, and nine mares, and Mr. Giddy breeds the useful farm, riding, and driving horse. Goats (Angora) number 150, but the preference is given to sheep and cattle. There is a dairy and cheese factory on the farm Ashton, which was established in 1910, when the turn-out was 60,000 lbs. (27,215.54kg) of cheese and butter, and later the company expects to double this output. This enterprise is entirely co-operative, and owned by milk suppliers. Mr. Giddy milks on an average about 100 cows, and Cheddar cheese is made, for which an unlimited demand is found. Trolleys run all over the district for milk and cream, and the chief markets for cheese and butter are Cape Town and Johannesburg, and the industry is helped by the fact that a refrigerating plant and cold storage have been established at the factory.

The whole property is entirely fenced and subdivided with six-ply wires. There is abundance of water all over the property, and an oil engine for irrigation is to be erected. The house is a large one of cut stone, with a large glass veranda. Fine stabling and outbuildings (a large cow-shed measures 140 feet (42.67m) by 22 feet (6.71m)), and a valuable stone quarry are to be found on the property. Mr. Giddy manages the whole property himself, with the help of his sons, and employs 12 hands and 2 white bijwoners. An orchard of 500 apple-trees, principally grafted, is flourishing, and bore a heavy crop this season, and a good deal of forestry-planting is being carried on. The owner of Lauriston is keen on stocking the rivers, which already abound in fish, with trout, and he has put in several hundred fry. Excellent partridge and guinea-fowl shooting is to be had at Lauriston, where there are also a few buck, which are strictly preserved. The leopard in the Fauna section of this work was shot by Harry and David Giddy, two lads home for the holidays, on Beddyelut.

The rainfall for 1909 was 35.12 inches (892.05mm), and that for 1910 was 31.37 inches (796.8mm). The average for five years is over 30 inches (762mm). Barkly East is the premier sheep district in South Africa, and there are something like three-quarters of a million sheep in the district. The Government hopes to have a railway completed to this place in two years' time. Karnmelk Spruit railway bridge will be one of the sights of the Colony, being 380 feet (115.82m) high.

[Playne, Somerset FRGS (Ed). 1911. Cape Colony - Its History, Industries, and Resources. South Africa: JC Juta & Co. p, 559]


The farm is no longer owned by the Giddy family.