DAIRY FARMING  AT DORRIGO

 

At the turn of the century Francis (Frank) Hornby and brother Richard emmigrated to Victoria.

My father Francis James Homby and his brother Dick (Richard}, plus a big chest each were given their father’s blessing

together with 5000 poundseach and sent to Australia to make their fortune.

Both boys were advised to contact an orchard near Melbourne where they believed they were

going to learn all about growing apples and pears. For this they paid 5 pounds each (per week)

to cover their board and pay for their tuition – from the memories of Jack.


Dorrigo – memories of Jack


About the Hornby’s at Dorrigo, I will tell you what Dad told me and as you know he didn’t embellish the truth.

G’ma. Hornby told me much the same but I think she added a little spice!

According to Dad, he was born in Hawthorn at Melbourne, quite a posh suburb then , and apparently so it seems

they lived very comfortably. G’dad owned/ran a dairy business but employed men to do the

real work.
Dad had quite expensive toys and a dog cart and Grandma entertained quite lavishly. Dad got up early one morning

and drank the dregs and became violently ill. The Dr was called but Dad was only drunk.

Anyhow when Dad was four, G’dad, according to G’ma, went into the Lands Office in Melbourne and selected a block off a map

sight unseen. They sold up their business and set sail by Packet Steamer to Dorrigo.

Dad remembered the ship foundering at the mouth of the Bellingen river and they all had to be rescued in the middle of the night.

Then they had that long tortuous drive by bullock wagon up the Dorrigo mountain. Of course when they arrived they had no shelter,

no fences, only the supplies they brought with them and I don’t think Pop was ever a farmer.

Many more stories but I’m sure you have heard of them before.

I really think Pop was influenced by a Mr Dowling, who had been one of the master at Pop’s school.

He had settled in Dorrigo and made a wonderful success of it.
He was the same schoolmaster who had been paid to take Pop and his brother on holidays to keep them out of the Stepmother's hair.

His family were still in Dorrigo until quite recently I think - Thanks Dianne



AUSTRALIA


” When she and Pop had moved to Dorrigo her mother came to visit. She was appalled at the living conditions she saw and said, “Maggie,

what have you come to?” and left the very next day. I understood that living conditions at Dorrigo wervery primitive and not at
ll like her home in Melbourne. - memories of Jack


Extracts from Megan-Leigh Centenary Book - The Dorrigo Lands
At the Courthouse, Belligen, 27th September,1906, a ballot was eld for one hundred and
twenty-nine blocks of land. Having a total area of 31,650 acres.

They were valued from one pound five shillings
to two pounds five shillings ($2.50 to $4.50) per acre.




  Conditions of Ballot Selection - 1906
Successful persons must reside on their for six months of the year; clear some of it
and build some sort of dwelling.



Being the strong silent type, typical of his generation,
my father never said much about Dorrigo. However, we did go
there for their annual golf tournament and I have a faint recollection (
I was about 8-9 years old)of driving out of town and inspecting
some vacant farm. This must have been the old farm.


Francis of Slingsby


However, he did tell a story about selling a car
(this must have been his first job after jackarooing) to a
farmer during the depression. He was invited to stay for lunch
which ypically,was in the kitchen, in front of a fuel stove on a
bare
board table.


Because he was the guest of honour they
produced a tin of marmalade jam for him to spread
on his bread and butter.  coudremember
 the kids lookingenviously at him as e ate his bread
and marmalade while they ate their read and
dripping. - David



The applicants for portion 25 which pop won in the ballot


Dianne

We went to the Historical Society there and a kind hearted  woman went to all sorts of trouble for us to find out just

where Pop had selected the land. We even met a very old man who remembered G’ma and Pop being at a

local wedding when he was a boy. The impression we got was Pop was known as the English Gentleman and

not the Pommie Bastard!. owever we finally tracked it down and far from being the wild bush country

it was then, it is now a very prosperous looking farm with a nice brick house.


It is in a part called Megan and the boys went to school at Leigh near the Little Murray River.

Kel Nagle quite a famous Australian golfer also went to the same little bush school and my father,

being a keen golfer himself, was always proud of that. In later years when my parents lived at Armidale

they always went back to Dorrigo for the golf tournaments.  (I often went with them and stayed at the

Dorrigo Hotel. I always remember driving over a hill and mum would say “there’s Dorrigo”

because it’s was raining there. (Dorrigo is the wettest part of NSW – David)


However it was quite a different place when the Hornbys arrived to take up their selection. Why they ever decided to go there

has never been properly explained and I can only suppose that Pop had kept in touch with his

old schoolmaster, Mr Dowling, and as the Dowlings were already established at Dorrigo,

perhaps they encouraged Pop to join them.


The story goes that Pop went into the Land’s Office in Melbourne and selected the land from a map,

sight unseen. I don’t know what he imagined it to be like but it must have been a shock to arrive after an

arduous boat trip to find completely virgin Australian bush. They must have started a dairy herd.

We  discovered a few more facts about Pop and Grandma. We didn’t stay very long as it was a long drive in one

day and it was really arranged for reunions and family get togethers” – Dianne 2006.


DORRIGOFARMSITEWITHNEWMUDBRICKHOUSE


It must have been shortly ater this that he met Miss Margaret Stewart at Lillydale, Victoria whose parents had a small

farm growing black currants and gooseberries and not far from Melbourne. Shortly after he married Miss

Stewart. I (Jack) was born 9/10/1903. – from the memories of Jack

About this time he met a Mr George Hobbs who became a lifelong friend. He ran a  very fine dairy farm out of

Melbourne with (?) cattle and from my memory had a most elaborate dairy and fittings.

The milk was supplied to one distributor only and Dad purchased the distributeship, 

together with the house and plant. This I’m nearly sure was at  Camberwell, Melbourne.

Dad apparently was well off financially for I plainly remember the house and fittings

were quite elaborate.” from the memories of Jack (Dianne)


From what I have heard mother say, Dad did very l
ittle work, everything being taken care of by a trusty

employee named Robbins. Dad had a very smart turnout,
called I think a ‘Prince Henry’, and what seemed to me to

be a very fine chestnut horse.
I can clearlyremember Mother, Father and myself driving into Melbourne and Dad
nonchalantlytossing a bystander a shilling to take care of
t he turnout (Landau?) while Mother and he did the shopping.
Things appeared very rosy. I also clearly remember going to
the theatre a on the horse tram
from the memories of Jack (Dianne)