Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Mallee gardens


A delightful theme photo for this week's Sepia Saturday - children in a garden, a tent in the background. I'm choosing the garden as my theme.

Farm house and garden in Victoria's mallee district.
They were tough in those days. My husband's Uncle Jack grew up in the Mallee district in the north of Victoria where his parents and other family had cereal farms. The 1920s and 1930s were tough times in the Mallee. The farmers had not yet learned how to farm in the sand like they do now so the native vegetation was cleared, the ground was ploughed when a layer of old stubble should have been retained, paddocks were left fallow, overgrazed or planted with seed in years that were too dry, the rabbits were in plague proportions, the summers were very hot and the winters cold. The result was frequent dust storms, failed crops, mouse plagues. It was soul destroying.

So it is surprising that communities developed. Schools and churches were established, football and tennis teams formed, railway lines built, small towns grew, families were raised, people supported each other. Now a lot of those towns have disappeared (I mean disappeared without trace - you can't see that they've ever been there) or diminished, small farms have amalgamated into large viable businesses, the population has decreased markedly, sustainable farming practices instigated.

One of the major problems in those days was water, a lack of water, for stock and people because it rarely rains in the Mallee. Every drop of water had to be carefully used.

Which brings me to this week's theme. All of the photos below are from Uncle Jack's album. I've chosen ones that show the homes they lived in and the gardens that are really potplants in old kerosene tins they tried to keep alive with water that had been used for washing or baths and fences that were built to keep the rabbits at bay. I couldn't have done it. I dips me lid.






Kooloonong Hospital

14 comments:

  1. It certainly was a hard life, and thise photos show how well they managed.great post!

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  2. It sounds like a recipe for defeat. It's a wonder anyone stayed. Your family was certainly resourceful and resilient.

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  3. I dips me lid too (another phrase new to me). A true story of the power of human resolve in the face of adversity.

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  4. Oh my hard indeed. They were strong and determined folks, I trust a good many today could never survive a road as such. My how life and people have changed. I like that phrase and do recall hearing it before, it really makes me laugh at the thought of it though.

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  5. Just goes to show what spunk, determination, and perseverance can accomplish! You never know what you can do until you have to do it. I'm willing to bet most folks now-a-days could make a go of a similar situation if they knew they had no other choice. The need to survive however one must is strong.

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  6. The conditions in Mallee sound almost like what some people in California are having to endure now with the drought there, and they are not used to hardships..

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  7. The hardest part of family research is trying to understand the challenges that previous generations faced in everyday life. The photos really help to see how they persevered through those hardships.

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  8. The photos really bring out how hard it must have been to survive. Now we take gardening for granted and use all sorts of pots, now fences needed against the rabbits either. Myxomatosis still persists in the fields around our UK village.

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  9. Yes they certainly did it very tough. That second photo could be directly out of my album!

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  10. The couple in the fourth photo down are so formally dressed. I guess photographs were a very special occasion back then. It looks as though they could be posing for the Australian version of the American Gothic painting. Great post!

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  11. And I dips me lid to you. A great post. Glad to see that Little Nell was interested in the phrase.

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  12. Well I'm envious of the cistern at the hospital. I wish I had one. And I can fully understand the watering the garden with water already once used. I fear the drought here in California will get worse and all the farm land in the central valley will disappear. Expect the price of almonds and walnuts to go up, way up.

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  13. My mother-in-law grew up in the Mallee and taught all round the area too. Her mother apparently always hd a garden as well...I dips me lid too.

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  14. I understand that times were hard. But what a beautiful, fancy screen door. Would love to have one like it today.

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I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.

Lorraine