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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.
Ray Flanagan, Leigh Davidson, Carol Perry & JJ Bruce’s Stories

Ray Flanagan, Leigh Davidson, Carol Perry & JJ Bruce’s Stories

By on Jul 1, 2013 in Dharmananda | 0 comments

Go to: Introductions | Dharmananda: from individual title to a multiple occupancy | WWOOFers | Growing food | Neighbours | Introducing Carol | The early years: creating community | Neighbours | Channon Markets | The Fire Brigade | Generational change and building community | The farm’s history | Bananas | Old roads | Finding a sense of belonging | Mr deSorzi | The Ivans | Back to the early days | Being a local


Ray: There were two banana plantations on the property when Dudley and Carol bought it. There was one ….

Leigh: Top Sertaria….

Ray: Yeah Top Sertaria, which was, who’s the guy that was leasing that?

Leigh: Kerry Breeze was it?

Ray: No, no. There was a guy, an older guy, had a lease on it. I just can’t remember his name right now. And then Ron Baird had a patch where I live up on the northern side of the property. Ah about 5 acres or so that he was leasing. And then he contacted Dudley and said that ‘I don’t want to renew the lease, what do you want to do with the bananas?’ Cause it was his responsibility to get rid of them. And Dudley said ‘oh we’ll take them over’. Unfortunately. And then when we went and had a look at them, because Dudley hadn’t seen them for some time, they were in a terrible state. Obviously Ron hadn’t done much work on them for a while because he knew he wasn’t going to keep them. And so we ended up getting a bulldozer in, it was Lou Graham actually, came in with his bulldozer and pushed them all out.

Carol: We did operate the one…

Ray: Yeah we operated the other patch for a while.

Carol: We learnt how to pack bananas and we’d go up there and…

Ray: Cause we didn’t have a road, direct road up there in those days so we used to have to go to The Channon. Or we could ride up on the horses, but otherwise we’d go to The Channon and drive up Wallace Road and, it’s like down and back again to get back to the same bit of property from the other side. And then we’d usually, once we’d packed the bananas we’d load, usually load them in the old Land Rover we had and we’d take them down to The Channon and then load them into Dudley and Carol’s Combie Van and drive them into town to put them on the train to Sydney.

How long did you do that for?

Ray: Oh you know, a few months. Not a long time.

And did you make more money than the boxes were worth?

Ray: Oh hardly.

Carol: Then there were some banana wars, and we gave up thank goodness. We were making virtually nothing.

What were the banana wars?

Carol: Well the big companies, you know, crushing the smaller ones.

Ray: Yeah.

Leigh: Yeah.

Carol: And you know dropping their prices.

Jo: Got it.

Ray: We used to the feed the cows and the horses with bananas. So at least we got plenty of feed out of it. When we started we were drying bananas and stockpiling them.

Carol: Ray used to dry hundreds, we had fine dry bananas, much better than the electric dryer because they were juicy, beautiful.

Ray: Yeah that’s right.

Carol: And we’d swap them for things.

Ray: Yeah we did a lot of trading with them.

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