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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

From dairying to mixed farming

So what was here when you got here?

Dino: It was dairy, dairy farm, pigs and that and they had share farmers in to do it. And after one share farmer left, I milked for a month and that was too much. One month too much of milking cows! And so we sold the going concern to, just to a friend of ours. And they had it five years and once the going concern, the lease, was up we just went into beef cattle.

Does that mean that you …that they came here and did all the milking?

Pam: And they owned the cattle. Did you own the cattle?

Dino: No, you rent the land at so much a month, they’re supposed to pay, I think it was thirty pound a month they were supposed to pay the lease on the land. But we still had bananas that we couldn’t touch any of the land while they had the lease of the land. Only what we decided to keep for our bananas and that, that’s the only thing that we could grow or work on.

Pam: The share farmers lived in this house.

And now the bananas – are they still in the same spot? So on the map here we’ve got where the bananas are.

Dino: Well now it’s nearly all avocados in there now but it’s still bananas and avocados mixed in together.

Right and were there bananas there when you got here or did you put them in?

Dino: No, no we planted them. Apparently they had… see this patch out here? [looking at the map] There’s mangos there. This here I had all bananas there. We planted them in sections, this one in 1958, that was about seven acres, and we planted another three acres in … ’60. And then planted this patch out the back in 1963.

Dino: I planted the mangos, I was going to grow mangos, it worked for a while but then there were just too many mangos and you can’t look after too many things, it just gets too much. But they’re not the normal mangos, they call them a banana mango.

Pam: Turpentine was it?

Dino: Well I’ve always heard them as banana mangos, they’re a long, thin mango. They’ve just got a different taste altogether to the Bowens and that.

Ok so you were living down here in this little house [near the road] and you could go out to these two sets of bananas while the rest of the land was leased?

Dino: Yep. We didn’t have the use of the rest of the land.

Who were the people who leased it?

Dino: The Everinghams, Noel and Georgette Everingham, they leased the place sort of for years; five years.

And then what happened to the dairy?

Dino: Well they had a clearing sale and then we just stocked up with beef cattle.

And do you still have beef cattle?

Dino: Yes.

How many?

Dino: Oh I don’t know, about sixty to seventy. We try and keep it between sixty and seventy breeders, something like that.

Ok, so you’ve got two lots of bananas and mucking about with mangos, what else over the years have you planted?

Dino: Oh as I said, just vegetables, just up here we used to grow…

Pam: We grew beans out here remember?

Dino: Yeah when you plant the bananas, ok, you plant them in say November – December. Well the next winter, the next autumn the bananas they’ll be three or four foot high. So you plant beans up the rows of bananas.

Pam: Because you had clean land, clean, fresh soil.

Dino: You had to look after the bananas so you planted beans there…

Pam: Instead of letting weeds grow you cropped it when it was new.

Dino: And you’d pick them and you’d finish the beans in about September, something like that.

Pam: And then the rush would start.

Dino: And then the bananas, another couple of months they started to bunch because they’d be over twelve months old. So you more or less had something, an income coming in, while you waited for the bananas to come.

And the beans up here as well as here?

Dino: Yeah originally we did that there too, then after this section down here, just over here it’s about … actually it’s this piece here; it goes right across like that. That’s about accurate. We used to grow beans and cucumbers in the winter again until 1970.

Pam: We did that for a long time.

Dino: Until I took over from Dad the whole farm, then it was just too much so we just stuck to the bananas and the cattle.

Pam: Yeah and we started planting the avocados in …

Dino: ’80, ’79 –’80.

Pam: Did we plant the bananas before we had the first cruiser or what? That would give us the time frame.

Dino: Oh we started planting but we weren’t cropping.

Pam: Yeah about 1980, and we were still picking avos and a few bananas and the cattle.

And so what happened to this earlier patch of bananas?

Dino: It’s just gone back.

Pam: To farmland.

Right.

Dino: Cattle grazing.

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