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This website aims to develop case studies of the development of farming practices and attendant transformations of local ecologies of defined blocks of land. Through these biographies of particular plots of land we are developing localised analyses of the wider historical trends in the political economy/ecology of the Northern Rivers.

The Walkers’

Walker damTowards the end of what is now Shaw’s lane, Tuckombil (just west of Byron Bay near the village of Teven) Bonnie Walker’s farm produces avocados and macadamia nuts. The farm uses biological farming methods to improve soil biology and reduce synthetic chemical use. Its use of Biochar was profiled by ABC’s Catalyst in 2007 (a video is available for download via this link).

The bulk of the land falls within the 50 acre (20ha) selection of Robert Shaw, dairy farmer, who moved his family to the property from the Hunter River area in 1879. By 1882 the property included a house, fences and clearing to the value of £100. The property remained in the Shaw family until 1973, when David Reginald Shaw split the property into three roughly equal portions, and sold two. Numerous sales and divisions dominated these throughout the 1970s and 1980s. This process continued until the Walkers arrived from the United States in 1988, seeking a farm based semi-retirement. The property was producing bananas at the time, but Bonnie Walker describes how the intensive labour and difficult market meant they shifted into avocados and also added macadamia nuts.

More detailed information can be found in Bonnie Walker’s story of coming to the Northern Rivers to farm and documents relating to the history of the property.

 

See more of the property

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