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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: Family history | The Farm | The River | David, Jenny and the Farm | Self-sufficiency and Aquarius | Cattle and floods | The landscape | Other on-farm agriculture | Buying and selling land | Poor economic times | Family partnership on the farm | Mill politics, harvesters and cane cutters | Changing methods | Chemicals | Market impacts and government subsidies | Generational change and succession | Impact on cane growing | Environmental issues | Politics of cane and the mill | Neighbours


What about your neighbours – I mean the people who are here as farmers. Who are they?

Jenny: they’re old families aren’t they?

David: yeah they were all, yeah.

Jenny: all old families from this area.

David: yeah in fact probably as old as mine. I can remember everybody’s grandfather – and their descendants. A couple of them have got share farmers.

So it’s a really old established ongoing community?

Jenny: yeah they are – they’re very old families.

David: and most of the land that gets sold gets sold amongst the people that are here – not all of it but it seems to swap and change between who’s here. A

And so your family were of Scottish descent?

David: yep.

Because Woodburn seems to have a lot of Scots is that right?

David: don’t know, there’s Metsons probably and Gollans.

Jenny: Gollans weren’t were they?

David: yeah they would have been.

Jenny: yeah well next to the Italians they were probably the biggest group, well they were before the Italians I suppose.

David: there’d be a fair few Irish too I’d imagine. The Italians…I’m sort of trying to isolate the New Italy Italians and the other ones, well there’s one farm between here and Woodburn is Italian.

Jenny: Ranieris, they’re owned by Haynes now.

David: there were people north of Broadwater that were Italians, there were a few, probably 10% perhaps Italian.

And did people separate out whether you were a New Italy descendant or any old Italian?

David: I don’t think so. It’s just that the newer Italians were more…sort of conservative Italians and couldn’t….had a bit of language barrier whereas the New Italy ones – they were brought up here – they were just like Aussies weren’t they?

Jenny : well there’s Carusi over the river.

David: well his father – I still have trouble understanding him. Do you know Mr Carusi? He’s married to a descendant of New Italy.

Jenny: wasn’t he married to a McCormack?

David: yeah well McCormack’s mother was…their mother was an Italian.

Jenny: oh that’s why they’re Catholics.

David: there’s a McNealy, McNamara and McCormack and I think they might have all married sisters from New Italy.



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