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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.
Pam and Dino Coiacetto

Pam and Dino Coiacetto

By on Jun 7, 2013 in The Coiacettos' |

Go to: Dino and Pam: family backgrounds | The original farm | From dairying to mixed farming | Weeds to lifestyle blocks | Beans, cucumbers and a lot of bananas | Cyclones and the Tornado | Resumed land, sales and policy changes | Peas, lychees and pumpkins | Bananas in the 1930s | Neighbours | The Future? | Working the farm today | The changing community | Italians and Australians | The growing family | A partnership

A partnership

It sounds as though this has always been a partnership, your farming and life. Do you call yourself a farmer Pam?

Pam: Yeah.

So have you always …

Pam: Farmer housewife I think that’s what I am. Yeah.

So how have you managed that work relationship – as in what sort of things did you do together on the farm and what sort of things did you do separately over the years?

Dino: Cake decorating.

Pam: I did have a hobby of cake decorating, not to make money but that was a hobby. But we’ve always done the work together, always, and Dino used to like fishing but that’s a long time ago. But that really is all.

Dino: Used to go fishing every winter, we’d start about April onwards.

Pam: With the friends, the old community.

Dino: Skinners Head, down with a rope, down over the rocks. We used to – we always come home – we’d go so we’d get there just on daybreak so you’d see where you were going and we were back home before lunch. You’d get half a day’s work in on the farm anyway. But the avocados put an end to that because the avocados start in April and go right through til September and that was the fishing time. See while I had the bananas, ok you got some in the winter, but you’re not pushed as much you know. The glut of them is in the summer.

Pam: But I think we did have a couple of trips, bus trips, we didn’t quite make it right around Australia, but we’ve done that. He’s a-stay-at-home now but I’ve been to New Zealand and Tasmania and Italy, it’s almost twelve months.

Dino: And while she’s away having a holiday, I have a holiday too. (laughs)

Pam: Yeah. He just doesn’t want to travel but he doesn’t hold it against me. No, not too bad. (laughing) But I’ve got a big family and we all live here. The furtherest one lives at Brisbane and Dino’s brother lives in Brisbane.

Dino: At Mt Gravatt.

Pam: We’re a big family but we get on. We, you know, there’s always something going on in the big family. They come, we go – you know? And stuff like that, I know a lot of families don’t do it anymore but we are quite close yeah.

And do any of your family Pam – are they on the land as well or is everybody…?

Pam: One sister and her husband at Bentley. That’s it isn’t it?

Dino: Yeah they’ve retired.

Pam: Yeah, yeah but there’s four, there were four sisters and eight brothers, one has passed away. Broke the chain the naughty man, one link’s missing now, I’m not happy. He was lovely.

Dino: He was my manager. He just retired from work and the last couple of years he was on long service and sick leave and whatever it is, enough to come out with the avocados, help picking the avocados.

Pam: Because he lived in town but he was a farmer at heart you know.

Dino: Silly bugger went and died on me. Went so quick.

Pam: Yeah it was sad, so sad. I mean I’m happy enough here.

The kids, did they also help out on the farm when they were …?

Dino: When they could, you know when they were littler.

Pam: But we weren’t like a lot of farm families, their school work came first and if there was time after that, not that they had to get up on the weekends and help cut bananas if they had school work no, we weren’t like that. We’d rather them do their school work.

But it would be often, you two would be out …?

Dino: That’s why I used to hate daylight saving. I’d never see the kids til the weekend. Because I’d get up and go to work and then come home

Pam: Dark.

Dino: Eleven, Twelve o’clock.

Pam: Have lunch, sorry.

Dino: Have a rest, I’d be going back to work about half past three and they’d be just getting home from school, I’d come home from work at eight o’clock and they’d be in bed. Trying to make them go to bed! As if you could get them to go to sleep with the sun still shining.

Pam: People do, they have to.

Dino: No wonder by the end of the daylight saving and in those days it was only three months not six months like now when it first came in it was supposed to be three months and that’s what they had it – three months. And now since 2000 because of the Olympic Games and that brought it for six months and … Put it on for twelve months and see how people like it.

Pam: For farmers it’s hard. Because you still have to get your freight taken on daylight saving time, not eastern standard time, so you’re working in the heat more to get your produce away. It’s hard.

Dino: It’s just that you’re getting in …

Pam: It’s hard working in the sun. Cause from here the kids would go, when they started high school the kids would leave home at half past seven at the latest, then they’d be home at five. I would come home then though.

Dino: This is going longer than Leonie’s interview!

I was thinking that we might… yeah.

Pam: It’s just us running off at the mouth.

Well let’s stop it now. There’s heaps there – thanks.

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