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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.

Go to: Arriving in the Northern Rivers | Moving in | Changing land-use | Dairying | Farm work | Markets | Off-farm income | Expansion | Succession | Organic farming | Bush Regeneration


When [my son] finished school he took about four years to get into a career which he is now a qualified electrician but going through other various things from fitness to you know different things at different times. He needed money and I had jobs so he spent time there.

Since he has been qualified he and his mates have been going to Whistler in Canada in winter and he went and did it this year and he’s coming back to pay off some of his debt on the farm which he claims on Facebook that he’s looking forward to getting back and doing some hard physical work. So we’ll see!

The youngest daughter just graduated in Music from the Conservatorium in Brisbane. Her partner is a documentary maker and they’ve both moved back to Federal to one of the other farms that we bought and they are looking to get involved in the sort of things we were doing 30 and 40 years ago themselves. So she’s sort of done less along the way in terms of children on the farm. Up until more recently she as a part of the increasing environmental awareness which she’s had over the last few years, she wants that to be more a part of her lifestyle and at least would like to live in the country and grow their own vegetables and participate where suitable in the farm operation while still running her own business which they are doing.

And that daughter who was having problems now she’s living back at home. She’s got a full time job with the Area Health Service, there’s a lot of computer work and she’s enjoying working in some of the farm operations now, particularly with the ginger that we’ve been growing for a few years. So she’s spending what free time she’s got doing that. So three out of four will be back when my son turns up.

We’re really happy to have them around – we built a house that was big enough for a big family and it’s still big enough for a big family or with the other properties that we’ve bought to expand production they had to have houses on them because any land that was suitable for farming is also more suitable to put a house on than some of the other blocks. So the blocks that we’ve bought do have houses on them. And we would love our family to live in them or the in the original house The Bails which is now 4 bedroom bails or stay in the same house as us again. All of those options I’d like to facilitate.

Actually the second daughter is along those lines she is looking for an avenue where she fits in with the farm business. She’s going to come down soon. She’s doing a Masters in human nutrition and dietetics. The work that she’s getting is all in remedial stuff and she wants more work in more positive and proactive areas rather than reactive and you know she’s got lots of opportunities and one of the opportunities that she sees is becoming more involved in the farm side of things and you know how strong that connection is with her various skills we don’t know but she is definitely interested in that and we’re definitely in looking for where that matches up. As well she’s probably got the strongest connection at the moment in living at home.

I think there’s a lot of opportunity for her I think if you can find the time to make the right connections I think it all can fit in quite strongly.

Things have really changed and there’s a much greater opportunity, it’s so much easier now than it ever had been before for somebody starting it up. Particularly for, like children of farmers. I think because it ah… you know if you look at our case, now the opportunities are there we can, we’re making our own market place rather than trying to fit in with the historical market places. So that’s ….you know you can grow anything you like but if you can’t sell it then it’s not worth growing so that’s been really important and then we’ve got much of the infrastructure that’s on farms that we’ve got over the years with the securing of a water resource, the improvement of the soil, the ability you know in terms of machinery and infrastructure and processes it’s all there. There was nothing there before now it’s all there. Even houses, somewhere to live. So with all of those things but just in terms of anyone’s kids I think there’s an area where there are farmers that are working in ways that need interested people to come and work on our farms and learn how to do these things and that means you don’t have to take a risk when you go and do it yourself. You’ve actually got experience at somebody else’s potential expense by being able to work for them. But also to their benefit too of course with somebody who’s interested in what they’re doing. And actually the opportunity to be mentored into the system I think they’re there and increasing with TAFE , how to work with more growers to say actually you don’t have to start off anything new like you read about overseas who have internships on organic farms and things. We’ve already got traineeships in farming available.

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