DAIRY FARMING AT DORRIGO
At the turn of the century Francis (Frank) Hornby and brother Richard emmigrated to Victoria.
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
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
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
she and Pop had moved to Dorrigo her mother came to visit. She was
appalled at the living conditions she saw and said, “Maggie,
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
with (?) cattle and from my memory had a most elaborate dairy and
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.
apparently was well off financially for I plainly remember the house
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
Robbins. Dad had a very smart turnout,
called I think a ‘Prince Henry’, and what seemed to me to