Fond memories of farming life

June 20, 2017

Lifetime of love for the land . . . John Hogan, who has lived in the same homestead for all his 81 years, is satisfied with the farming memories he holds onto now he has retired.

Long history . . . The shearing shed which used to be a horse stable.

John Hogan has lived on the family farm all his life, and this year is the 100th since his family first took ownership of the Undera property.

The 81-year-old said his grandfather bought another farm in Undera on Fidge Rd, before his father and uncles purchased the property Mr Hogan calls home, in 1917.

Mr Hogan always loved farming and decided it was the best way to spend his time after he left school at an early age.

‘‘I left school at 14. There was a polio scare at that time. They shut the school and I never went back,’’ he said.

‘‘If I had of gone back I might have gone a different way but I’ve never regretted it.

‘‘It’s a good place, Undera. I went to the night trots locally for 40 years. That was the only sort of outlet I had.’’

Of all the benefits a life on the land has to offer, it is the simple things that have satisfied Mr Hogan over all his years of farming.

‘‘I’ve enjoyed seeing the crops growing up and livestock grow to a saleable size,’’ he said.

Mr Hogan’s father died in 1960 and therefore the family history was mostly unknown to him.

‘‘I wasn’t told much about that. My father died when I was young and he was the only one who could have told me.

‘‘Us kids were told to mind our own business in those days and there were no ways of keeping history back then.’’

Mr Hogan lives in the only homestead that has ever been on the 194.2ha block, which has farmed ‘‘mainly sheep, wheat and some cattle’’, but the farm may be more known for the dam that dried up in the millennium drought.

‘‘The dam was a feature of the property. People would say ‘I know where you live — on the property with the dam on the corner’,’’ he said.

‘‘The biggest difference in this farm is the irrigation channel that came in during the 1950s.’’

Despite the Hogans having the property for 100 years, Mr Hogan believed the shed, now used for shearing, was older.

‘‘I’d think the shearing shed is over 100 years old — it used to be a horse stable.

‘‘I never rode a horse — others would have, but I never rode one.

‘‘I went (around the farm) on a pushbike in the early days, then the motorbike and a ute. I have these same sort of vehicles to this day.’’

Now he is getting older, it’s the memories he holds onto that matter most.

Others now farm the property, leasing the land to grow crops and agist cattle.

‘‘I’ll stop here while I can. If I can’t drive the car and look after myself then I’ll have to think about things,’’ Mr Hogan said.

‘‘We were lucky to keep it (the farm) for that long. I don’t farm now. I just have memories of farming and I’m satisfied with that.’’

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