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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

Go to: Family background | Engineering and travelling | The environment and agriculture| Aquarius | 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

Dairying

So did you start the dairy up at some point or was that always here?

The cows were here before Ellen and I arrived. As I said when I came down here in 1977, from the meditation retreat, they gave me some cheese and I thought ‘that’s pretty good,’ and there were a few cows wandering around and so on. Carol and Dudley bought the cows originally just to keep the grass down. So the cows were here and you know they’d milk a few of a morning sort of thing. When I got here you’d get up and someone, everyone would kind of milk a cow – ‘who hasn’t been milked yet?’ – that sort of thing. It wasn’t very organised – very rudimentary bales right down the front end of the paddock and then we put in a more together sort of milking bales next to the garage shed down there. Back about twelve years ago we built the current bales that are right up there next to the community house. I don’t know if you noticed them, I’ll show you. So we’re milking about five or six cows every morning now and getting about twenty to thirty litres every day and we make cheese and all that stuff.

And do you sell that stuff as well?

Neighbours just come in and pick up a flagon of “bath milk” and leave four dollars. At one stage I used to sell cheese at the market, the Channon Market, did that for about a year and a half and then got busted by the Dairy Corporation, not supposed to do that. At that time all milk in New South Wales was vested in the Dairy Corporation and they give licenses to people like NORCO and so you’ve got to do it through them. It’s too much trouble. But anyway I reckon I was earning about two or three dollars an hour for my work because I was looking after paddocks, looking after cows, milking cows, making cheese, looking after cheese. When you add up all the hours involved in that and the fact that I was grossing $500 a month or something from it. So that convinced me to increase my involvement with Southern Cross Uni or I think it was still the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education in those days.

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