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Villiers & Heytesbury Agricultural Association, Victoria

The Villiers and Heytesbury Agricultural Association was functioning at least as early as 1859, when several articles in Port Fairy/Belfast newspapers apparently mentioned members of the Association: J.M Knight, D.McKellar, S.MacGregor, John Midgley, Mathew Monaghan, Thomas Raingill and George Thompson.

Like contemporary agricultural societies, it would have provided support to rural communities, encouraged the improvement of agricultural practices, held annual shows and competitions and exposed farmers to new technologies.

The Villiers and Heytesbury region covered a wide stretch of land bounded by the coastline west of Melbourne, extending from Cape Otway almost as far as Portland.

The area was later described by Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903, who sat in the seat of Villiers Heytesbury) in 2001 in My Life in Two Hemispheres:

'Villiers was a farming country possessing some of the best soil in the colony, notably the Farmham Survey, a district which a syndicate of Irish gentry was enabled to buy under Colonial Office regulations at one pound an acre... Heytesbury was a squatting constituency...'

References:
University of Sydney library website http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/fed0001.pdf
Genseek Genealogy website (Jenny Fawcett)
http://www.standard.net.au/~jwilliams/belf8.htm

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