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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.

Torrens Title Images

The most recent history of the Forrests’ farm, currently operating as Organic Forrest, can be found in the following certificates of title (in the form volume-folio). They are available for purchase through the Lands and Property Information online shop. Click on each reference number to go directly to the order page and type in the order it appears here. These documents run from the oldest on the left to the newest on the right.

1312-88 | 1320-39 |12148-212| 13047-29 |13141-187 | 13198-156 | 13252-213

Jasper Parish Map (1896)

Parish of Jasper 1896

Source: © LPI – Department of Finance and Services [2013]
Panorama Avenue, Bathurst 2795 www.lpi.nsw.gov.au

This parish map shows the Forrest’s farm (portion 67, this number is the largest in the portion) in the middle of the bottom of the map. It also shows the name of the owner at the time, Charles Hicks, and the conditional purchase number 83.99 (number 99 in 1883). More information about this can be found in the conditional purchase correspondence file, below.

Conditional Purchase Correspondence File

The conditional purchase (CP) system allowed for of land before survey. CP files normally contain any documents used by the selectors to establish that they had met the conditions of their purchase (and thus, to apply to be granted the title) including documentation of improvements (such as clearing, fencing and building on the land) mortgage documents, boundary adjustments, survey maps, witness letters, and correspondence with surveyors and the lands office.

The full .pdf documents can be downloaded by clicking on ‘View this document on Scribd’ below.

[scribd id=165339278 key=key-1f1timuo8gg4lmpbkpm9 mode=scroll] Source: State Records NSW: Conditional Sales/Sales Branch, Department of Lands; NRS 8103, Correspondence files, 1877-1951[10/18684], 99.12034D, 1899

 

 

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By the 1860s, the increasing population and political conflicts over the rights of squatters resulted in a push for 'closer settlement' in New South Wales (NSW). In 1861 the Crown Lands Alienation Act, the so-called Robertson Land Act, was introduced. It allowed for Conditional Purchase (CP) of 40-320 acre portions of land, which were to be 'selected' before survey from the large tracts of grazing land, held under pastoral licences. It was hoped that this would both increase the productive capacity of the land by moving from broad acre grazing to more intensive farming, and break the dominance of the 'squatocracy' by redistributing the land among a greater number of people.

Conditions included: (i) the area being limited to 40 to 320 acres at £1 per acre; (ii) paying a deposit of one quarter of the purchase price; (iii) adding improvements to the value of £1 per acre; (iv) the selector residing on the land; and (v) occupying the land for three years.

These Acts entitled existing pastoral lease holders to pre-emptively take up CPs in their existing larger holdings. This led to the practices of ‘peacocking’ (taking up the land along the river as much as possible, with the aim of reducing the likelihood of settlement on their holding by monopolising access to water, thereby reducing the desirability of remaining land) and ‘dummying.’ (leases and purchases made in the name of family members, employees, even pets, in order to get access to more land).

By 1906 the major breakup of the big cattle runs was beginning to take hold, and no new CPs were initiated after 1911.

It is worth noting, however, that the first selectors to take up a portion were not necessarily listed on maps, as unsuccessful selectors often abandoned, sold on, or moved portions due to difficult conditions. Those who did not satisfy the conditions of their leases/purchases were not ‘confirmed’ (known as a ‘certificate of conformity’) and often there is very little or no record of their time on the land remaining.