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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

The landscape

The land is extremely steep; the property itself is about 900 metres wide by 1500 metres long. The long axis is west to east, the western boundary is a ridge; Wallace Road runs along that ridge. The middle of the property, almost, is bisected by this little creek that we’re looking down on here now. Its headwaters are up in the back paddock and it runs down and we own pretty well 90% of that catchment. So most of the property is this catchment, which is a wonderful thing for us in terms of our water management. The fall, in the 1.5kms, it falls about 300 metres, so it’s very steep country.

This gully is very steeply incised and it’s hard to imagine hills even steeper than the one we’re looking at covered in rocks, how a cow would have managed to get around on that… but they had to. As I understand it, one of the conditions of being granted the land was, and this was discussed in Pauline’s book, that they had to clear a certain acreage and establish a home and things like that otherwise their grant was withdrawn. Yeah. So that’s the property, it would have been mostly forest, probably a lot of eucalypts with a rainforest understory. Some of the trees, I’ll take you round and show you some of the stumps, you know, are almost two metres at the base. There’s talk in Pauline’s book about a Cudgerie that they took down, no, a Crows Ash Teak, Flindersia Australis, was 27 feet around at the girth, the circumference. Some of these trees are huge, yeah.

The original farm house was in the south – east corner, the north – west corner is very remote and high up on an escarpment and I would say it probably regenerated very quickly. So it’s almost pristine, it regenerated before the weeds got in, before the lantana and camphor laurel got in. As you come down and particularly the steeper gullies here, there’s a lot of lantana, just solid lantana. And that’s one of the things I’m dealing with. You’re looking across at that hill, five years ago all you saw really, apart from the trees poking out, was just solid lantana. And over there, I’m just getting to that area, you see a bit of crofton weed, wild tobacco, but there are quite a significant amount of little trees regenerating and I can show you all that. We don’t have to plant trees they just pop up which makes regen relatively easy. It’s just a matter of weed removal.


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