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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: Early family history | Involvement with the Catholic Church | History from the 1950s | Dairying | Frank’s education | The history of the Bridge and naming of Boyle Road | Changes in the local area from the 1970s | Frank and Andrea meet | Moving out of dairying | Farmers’ markets | Rice | Raising awareness of food production | The future and the food movement | Farm forestry | Work ethic | The House

Frank’s education

So had you stayed on the property all that time? Or did you go away and come back?

Frank: No, well I left school, I went to Tocal Ag college for 12 months; doing agriculture. And I came back and I lived on the property then, than I did take 12 months off.

Andrea: You wanted to do the extra certificate though didn’t you?

Frank: Yeah I did.

Andrea: That was interesting. The pull, the expectation that he had to come back. The education wasn’t worth anything, he had to fight going to Tocal didn’t you?

Frank: Yeah in the first place I had to. There was a strong expectation of me to be the farmer. I was the only one that really showed a lot of interest in it.

And so did you chose then to go to the agricultural college because you wanted to do that or because you thought that you were going to be doing it anyway because that was the expectation, and then you’d expand your knowledge?

Frank: I did want to expand my knowledge. At the time I probably would have wanted to go and work on a big property in Queensland rather than have to come back to the farm here.

Andrea: You wanted to be a farmer didn’t you?

Frank: Yeah. I think the expectation was there but it’s was a fair expectation because I did enjoy it and I still enjoy it so that sort of you know. Mum and Dad didn’t see the use in going to be educated. Get a bit more education. At 17 all you want to do is leave home really, I suppose. But I could see the value. You know I didn’t do HSC, I left at year 10, I tried to get an apprenticeship in the building trades. But that didn’t happen. And then, because I could see the value in having a little bit further education, basically a piece of paper to say you can, whether it was an apprenticeship as a builder or whether it was a Certificate in Agriculture. I could see that that was an important thing, so that’s probably what I was trying to get through to them, to mum and dad.

I think that in the 80s, late ‘70s to ‘80s, that change was incredible really. You could just go from having a few cows and sort of selling what you get, but it became more of a business. You really had to know a bit more and be on the ball. You had to make more money because you were spending more money on technology.

How big was the herd in ’89 when you stopped?

Frank: About 180 cows. Most of them are 300 now. Minimum probably. But I suppose, that’s the interesting thing is that, you know, this whole road when every farm had a dairy, they probably, totally only milked 400 cows, all together. So now those 400 cows are concentrated on one farm, and that’s just how all industries have, sort of moved really, changed.

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