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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.

This is an edited version of an interview between Frank and Andrea Boyle with Adele Wessell and Hazel Ferguson at Boyle Road, 28th November, 2012.

It contains stories about Early family history | Involvement with the Catholic ChurchHistory from the 1950s  | Dairying | Frank’s educationThe history of the Bridge and naming of Boyle RoadChanges in the local area from the 1970sFrank and Andrea meet | Moving out of dairying | Farmers’ marketsRice Raising awareness of food productionThe future and the food movementFarm forestryWork ethic | The House

Early family history

Frank Boyle is the son of Leonard Patrick Boyle who purchased the family property in 1974 with his brother Michael. The Boyles have been living at Goolmangar since the 1880s, variously as tenant farmers and share farmers. Frank and his wife Andrea bought part of the land in 2000 which contains the old family home.

How long have you both lived here on the farm?

Frank: I’ve lived on this property my whole life. Which is 49 ½ years.

Andrea: We got married in 1989 and we had lived here a year before that and we, so 1988.

Frank: The family came from Ireland, I’m not sure of years but, early in the 1800s. That was my great-great grandfather, Michael. He had 13 children and my grandfather Hugh was his eldest. One of Michael’s sisters married a man by the name of McIntyre who originally brought this property. My great grandfather was dairying at Jamberoo, on the south coast of Sydney, and they were offered a share farming opportunity up here; so they brought the cattle herd, the whole family brought the cattle herd. They were a young family so the family came up by boat or train, I’m not sure … Or a bit of both from Jamberoo to here. They put the cattle herd on the train and brought them to Armidale, and then they brought them overland from Armidale to Goolmangar, which is pretty amazing. Even to do that today would be just incredible.

So the McIntyre’s owned a fair bit of this land. My great grand-father Michael share-farmed and milked on this property, for many years and then when Tom McIntyre and Grace [nee Boyle], when they died, Thomas McIntyre died first and Grace, they were very devout Catholics, and this is the family story [laughs]. I don’t know if it’s true or not. On grace’s deathbed the Bishop came to the house and, it’s family lore, history, anyway… story’s that she changed the will, on her deathbed; because this house, it was a very grand house and they used to entertain the clergy a lot here.

Marlivale. Our front bedroom here was the parlour, a lot of sort of high teas were carried out in the parlour. Anyway after Grace died it was, it ensued that the farm had been left to the Catholic Church. So my great grandfather, they then, they were a little bit upset, as you can imagine. They’d worked here for probably 30 years, for not much more than just keep and sort of living. Which is probably the way it was in those days. So they were a little bit annoyed, but they continued to work the farm as a property from then on really and just paid rent to the Catholic Church.

Then the war the war happened as well and some of the boys went to the war, went to the First World War, including my grandfather. He returned but when he returned he was a sick man. He had been given a thousand pounds in Thomas McIntyre’s will, I think, and the church was happy to take that as a deposit on part of the property. So there were actually three titles here. They took that as a deposit on the property basically where mum and dad are now. So my grandfather worked that with his family, my grandmother and then they had 9 children. And the rest of the family, his brothers and sisters and father and mother worked this part of the farm; separate, separate dairy farms.

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