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1950s Australia -Changes in agriculture

How time changes methods of farming. My father leased the same farm from 1925 until 1972. During that time he used many different forms of farming. I am very lucky that my mother was a keen photographer, and left many images showing their life together on the farm after 1933.

Obviously in the early 1930s, all the power used was horsepower. But there are photos, dated 1936, showing a steel-wheel tractor, driven by Dad, and with my eldest siblings riding on a plough behind it. So Dad must have been growing some sort of crops before the war. [photo 1]

During the war, petrol was in short supply, and we went back to horsepower on the farm. But I don’t remember that Dad ever used horses to pull a plough. [photo2 ] By the late 1940s, he had bought a second-hand tractor which had front wheels very close together. He used it to pull a plough. But he did not have a machine to spread seeds of the oat crop he wanted to grow.

Instead of using a machine, my teenage brother Max broadcast the seed manually. He carried a bag of seed on his chest, which was connected to an outlet at the bottom. When he turned a handle at the side of the bag, the seed was spread in a circle around him. He walked back and forth across the paddock, turning that handle, and spreading seed across the ground. It must have been exhausting work. [photo 3]

For the next crop, Dad bought a seeder.

Later photos show Dad’s invested in more modern tractors . [ photo 4 ] Just once or twice before he retired from the farm, in the early 1970s, he planted a wheat crop. He did not own a harvester, but employed a contractor who brought a harvester machine to the farm.

So during the nearly 50 years Dad had the same farm, he changed from horse power, to the latest machinery available.

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