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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: agriculture (3)

Invisible Farmer Project

Author
by Catherine Forge
Publish date
8 April 2015
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Catherine Forge is Curator of the Invisible Farmer Project at Museum Victoria. She grew up in regional Victoria (Gippsland), which is where she developed her love for cheese, the outdoors and rural Australian history.

Cartoon of statue of female farmer labelled 'The Unknown Farmer' Unknown Farmer Cartoon
Source: Sea Lake Women on Farms Gathering Proceedings, 1991
 

Women in Australia play a vital role in farming and agriculture, contributing at least 48 per cent of real farm income through their on and off-farm work. Sadly, however, women’s contributions to agriculture have continued to be ignored, unrecognised and rendered invisible. Farming women have been excluded from censuses and official documentation, stereotyped as ‘housewives’ or ‘domestics’ despite their significant contributions to the farm economy and blindsided by a popularist vision of Australian agriculture that idealises masculinity and posits rural Australia as a ‘male domain.’ As a 1992 Government Report argued, rural women have too often been relegated to the position of the ‘Invisible Farmer.’

Liza Dale-Hallett at lectern Liza Dale-Hallett delivering keynote address at the Yarra Ranges Women on Farms Gathering.
Image: Alison Griffiths-Hoelzer
Source: YRWOFG Committee
 

On 21 March 2015 Senior Curator Liza Dale-Hallett (Sustainable Futures) launched Museum Victoria’s Invisible Farmer Project during a keynote address, Making Women Count, at the Yarra Ranges Women on Farms Gathering. Presenting in a panel alongside Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan and Victorian Rural Woman of the Year Julie Aldous, Liza introduced the main aims of The Invisible Farmer Project:  

  • To interview some of the 24 remaining women who were part of the first cohort of female agricultural graduates from the University of Melbourne.
  • To work alongside other institutions such as the State Library of Victoria to establish strategic collecting processes to document the Rural Women’s Movement and to uncover the stories of rural women.
  • To identify, as a matter of urgency, those that were pivotal in shaping the Australian Rural Women’s Movement.

Highlighting the fact that the stories of farming women are often intangible and undocumented – existing instead in living memory – Liza articulated an ‘urgent plea to move beyond the unknown farmer and to catch this history before it is lost.’

audience in lecture theater Delegates at the Yarra Ranges Women on Farms Gathering, March 2015.
Image: Alison Griffiths-Hoelzer
Source: YRWOFG Committee
 

It is significant that the Invisible Farmer Project was launched at a Victorian Women on Farms Gathering. These Gatherings have been occurring annually throughout rural Victoria since 1990 and were one of the major seedbeds for the Rural Women’s Movement that occurred in Australia during the 1980s-1990s. Senior Curator Liza Dale-Hallett first attended a Gathering in 1993 and has since had a long association with them that has included the establishment of Museum Victoria’s Victorian Women on Farms Gathering Collection. This innovative and award-winning collection has paved the way for the institutional recognition and preservation of rural women’s stories. Liza hopes that the Invisible Farmer Project will go one step further by inviting cultural institutions to collaborate in recognising, collecting and preserving the history of the Australian Rural Women’s Movement, before it’s too late.

The Invisible Farmer Project is funded by the McCoy Seed Fund and involves a partnership with the University of Melbourne as well as involvement from other collecting institutions (e.g. State Library of Victoria). If you would like to hear more about the Invisible Farmer Project, please get in contact with Catherine Forge (Curator) via email: cforge@museum.vic.gov.au or phone: 03 8341 7729.  

Newmarket Saleyards turn 150

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
17 February 2011
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Have you ever passed the weathered, rough-hewn post and rail fences near the corner of Smithfield and Flemington Roads? These are the remains of the former Newmarket Saleyards which opened 150 years ago this month.

Newmarket Saleyards Newmarket Saleyards, highlighting the laneway running between the stock pens showing detail of bluestone pitches and post and rail fencing.
Image: Robert Cutting
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Cars, trucks and trams thunder along Flemington Road these days and but there was a time when the roads were full of traffic of a different kind. For decades, thousands of head of cattle were driven along here ‘on the hoof’ by working dogs and drovers, many from as far away as Queensland. In the late 1800s Newmarket was on the city fringe, but as Melbourne expanded, the chaos, sounds and smells of rural life collided with the city. Increasingly, trucks and rail were used to transport livestock during the 20th century and a stock overpass, built in the 1960s, reduced the risk of escapes. There are plenty of stories of stray cattle trampling through local houses, turning up at the pub, the milk bar, and even the Zoo. After the auction, drovers ran livestock to nearby abattoirs or to be transported to the paddocks of their new owners.

  A yardman directing cattle at Newmarket Saleyards A yardman directing cattle at Newmarket Saleyards, 1960.
Image: Laurie Richards Studio
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The vast Newmarket Saleyards were the most important in Australia, setting the price for livestock nationwide. It became a ‘town within a town’ with its own essential services, including a telegraph office, cricket club, newspaper and radio station. Record numbers of animals were sold here during World War II.

Covered walkways between the stock pens at the Newmarket Saleyards Covered walkways between the stock pens at the Newmarket Saleyards where auctioneers stood and conducted sales.
Image: Robert Cutting
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Regional stockyards led to the decline of Newmarket which finally closed in 1987. Museum Victoria acquired significant objects from Newmarket and volunteer Jackie Gatt has been working with curator Liza Dale-Hallett to document the collection, which is featured on Collections Online this month.

You can still see bluestone paving, stock pens, covered walkways and brick buildings on the site, but new housing occupies much of the original 57 acres. Every year since its closure, drovers, agents and auctioneers who worked at Newmarket hold a reunion on the third Saturday of February each year to catch up with old friends. This year there will also be a community celebration day on Sunday 20 February, 11am-2pm, to honour the 150th anniversary.

Bill Glenn mosaic Detail of the Newmarket Saleyard mosaics, featuring Bill Glenn, a drover at the Newmarket Saleyards, and his cattle dog.
Image: mural artist Elizabeth McKinnon, photographer Robert Cutting
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

Newmarket Collection on Collections Online

Brochure about Newmarket Collection (PDF, 2Mb)

ABC Landline: Saleyard of the Century

Poster for Community Day on 20 February (PDF, 6.2Mb)

International Harvester Collection

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
17 December 2010
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The History & Technology Department is steadily listing the vast International Harvester Collection on Collections Online. This collection of over 50,000 items records the operations, products and manufacturing of the Australian subsidiary of the International Harvester Company. This US-based company began selling its agricultural machinery and trucks in Australia in 1902. Local manufacturing in Victoria began in the late 1930s.

The IH Collection includes colour transparencies which are particularly interesting because colour photography was still quite rare in the 1940s. It’s unusual to see scenes of this era captured in vivid reds and blues and greens.

Horse-drawn GL-60 plough Horse-drawn GL-60 plough manufactured by International Harvester, 1940. This is one of several colour transparencies in the collection. (MM 115209)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Nearly 200 images are now online and more will be listed in coming months. Curator David Crotty is keen to hear from anyone who could help identify some of the people in the images, particularly the photos of farmers and town residents who attended presentations by International Harvester sales reps.

Group of International Harvester salesmen A group of International Harvester salesmen presenting the Farmall A Tractor in Albury, 1940. The company embarked upon regional tours demonstrating its agricultural machinery. (MM 115021)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Group of farmers from Cohuna Group of farmers from Cohuna outside International Harvester factory, Geelong, 1940. (MM 115033)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

International Harvester Collection

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