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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.
Leigh Davison’s Story

Leigh Davison’s Story

By on Jul 1, 2013 in Dharmananda | 0 comments

This is an edited version of a conversation between Leigh Davison, Jo Kijas and Hazel Ferguson on November 7, 2012.

It contains reflections on Family background | Engineering and travelling | The environment and agricultureAquarius | Moving to the land | Dharmananda: land history | The landscape | Early history of the Community | Growing food | Dairying | Community work | Working at SCU | Bananas | Neighbours | Sustainable farming | Systems agriculture | Communal living | Shareholding | The agricultural land | Conservation land | Community decision making: guns and herbicide | The lantana


Family background

I grew up on the North Shore of Sydney, had a nice middle class upbringing, went to a selective high school and did well at that. I was a good rugby player, so I was good academically and at sport. I have two sisters, one older one younger, both still alive. The elder sister’s a retired GP and the younger sister married a lawyer. Every year we’d have a two week holiday at the beach – Mum and Dad were really terrific parents, yeah. Dad was a great gardener.

And were there things in your background that made you start thinking about the land?

I remember, it was in about 1953, I would have been about ten or eleven years old, we got our first car. We got this FJ Holden and we’d go for drives in the country and I can remember being fascinated by landscape, just rural landscapes, so somehow I’d become transfixed by them. So I think some kind of resonance with the rural landscape – even at that early age when you’ve got so many other things on your mind I can remember being distracted by that; rural and bush landscapes. For example I was in the Boy Scouts and I used to do a lot of bushwalking. We did a lot of walks in the Blue Mountains. You’d come out of the bush walking through a paddock and I used to think – something warm would happen. As I look back on it, you know, there was something attractive about those agricultural landscapes juxtaposed with a natural forest ecosystems.

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