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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

The history of the Bridge and naming of Boyle Road

Frank: This is the story I have been told. I’m not sure that its truth but it seems fairly logical. What happened in 1968, I think, that they built a new bridge across Goolmangar Creek; and the Council asked the community via the Hall committee, ‘cause the Goolmangar Hall was all was very much a focal part of the community. And the Secretary of the hall committee was Steve McNamara, so he was dealing with all the correspondence as a secretary does. So, the list was sent back to the Council and McNamara was put at the top of the list, which was probably right because there were more McNamara’s than Boyles or Bolands. Shermans weren’t living on this road so they were never really consulted but mainly the people living on this road. So it went back to the Council and the Council assumes that McNamara was the first choice so they called the bridge McNamara bridge.

I remember as a school kid, the school came down and at the opening of the bridge we all sang, you know it was a big day out. There’s photos of us, of the school choir singing probably the National Anthem. I suppose, God Save the Queen. But anyway a few years later this, the road we’re on here, used to be called West Nimbin Road. ‘Cause it runs parallel to Nimbin Road, and its west. So they called it West Nimbin Road. A few years later the Council wanted to change the name of the road and instead of coming and consulting with the hall committee they just looked at the list again and Boyles were second. So it was called Boyle Road. So that’s how it became Boyle Road.  But I think the McNamaras are sort of not that happy. Well fair enough because there’s a lot more of McNamaras on the road then Boyles. We’re the only one family of Boyles.

So given that everybody was dairying do you remember were there good relations between neighbours, you know did you have to rely on them when people were in at hospital, or if you went away for holidays, or did people share things like tractors?

Frank: Very much so, it was a real feel, community feel, there was no, very little animosity between families, and even between the Catholics and the Protestants, it was never a problem. Everyone, if there was a crisis people would all chip in and it’s still the same, still the same. It hasn’t changed really, because that’s the beauty of this little area where we live, is that you know most of the families have been here for as long as we have, 100 years, or more. The McNamaras are still here, the Shermans are still here.

You said they are coming back so there must have been a period where there was some changes and other people were coming into the area? Or into outlying areas?

Frank: Probably the outlying areas because the properties here basically remained the same with very little sub-division. Just on this little end, this little area where we are here there’s been very little sub-division so the farms are still sort of two and three hundred acres.

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