To a large number of our readers this island is known as the "Big Island", and as many of these have never even visited it although so near, yet take an interest in farming generally, it may not be uninteresting to give some slight description of it.
Many who see these grey beetling cliffs facing the town might think it an unhospitable, barren island with nothing but gloomy pine trees on its surface, but this is not so, and though not above seven miles on its longest line, and two or two and a half on its broadest, there are many patches of rich swamp and alder bottom, and it contains no less than nineteen settlers, viz., (going from the E. end to the W.,) Messrs. Degnen, Dick, Gray, Martin, Kemp, Magnus Edgar, Chappel, McGuffie, Easson, Hoggan, McLay, Hall, LeBoeuf, Goss, Caulfield, White, and Heath, seventeen of whom are in constant occupation of their claims and hard at work.
Their stock consists in all of some four hundred and fifty or perhaps five hundred head of cattle, besides a horse which we mention because it is in the habit of visiting a neighbouring island for summer quarters, and is on friendly terms with the cattle thereon much to the disgust of the gentleman who owns it. They have also numerous pigs and fowls, and supply us with butter, eggs, potatoes, turnips, and a considerable quantity of oats, not to say anything of the very excellent beef it feeds.
Of the settlers, the older ones of course have done most work, as the Messrs. Hoggan, whose dwelling house, garden, barn, and buildings are a model of neatness, comfort, and good workmanship. They are on the borders of a lake which they have lowered considerably.
Amongst the others, Messrs. Magnus, Degnen, Gray, McGuffie, Chappel, and Kemp, much good and substantial work has been done, and the more recent settlers are quickly following suit. The Messrs. Martin, the last pre-emptors, are about to begin the cultivation of hops which Mr. Jonathan Martin thoroughly understands.
An efficient Public School, with Mr. Seneker as teacher, has existed for some time, and the main want at present is a regular mail service with Nanaimo.
Mr. Landale, C.E. will leave this morning to blaze a trail from Dickson & Peer`s turnoff to Englishman River - where we understand there are several good farms. After Mr. Landale has completed the blazing of this trail, he will immediately proceed to thoroughly survey Gabriola Island.
GABRIOLA ISLAND ROADS
Mr. Fawcett, Government Agent, has received instructions from the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, to call a meeting of the settlers of Gabriola Island, to take into consideration the expenditure of $600 granted to build and repair roads. The meeting will be held at the convenience of settlers - perhaps about the end of the month.
OLD FLAG INN,