On Saturday 21st January starting at 5pm and going to about 8pm (or whenever the chat and wine runs out) we will be visiting Brockspur Eco farm at 57 Harvey road Steels Creek where Ed and Amanda Williams will show us their goat dairy herd (including milking – you might even get to assist). This will be followed by a social BBQ dinner.
We ask that you either bring a plate of salad, nibbles or dessert to share and the SCLG will provide bread and meat. BYO drinks.
RSVP is required to allow for catering and is open to the whole community
Either email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Angie 0412 343 242
Brockspur Eco-farm Story
Edd and I brought our property in 1979 after migrating from England the year before. Land here sold cheaply in those days but even so we started our life here under a shed roof with no power, or amenities at all. We were young then and even with three small children we were happier living outside than in a suburb.
In England we lived on a smallholding with chooks, dairy goats and a horse and cart. Growing vegetables on the Yorkshire moors was challenging and we hoped that the milder Yarra Valley climate would make our self- sufficient life easier.
We soon discovered that Australia is a land of extremes and we began the slow process of adapting to the new environment. I have never lost my joy at being able to pick my own citrus fruit and walk each day surrounded by multi coloured parrot type birds but we had a lot to learn about growing food and animals in mineral depleted soils.
Our plan was to have a commercial goat farm, so we built up our herd numbers and constructed a dairy. It was a large operation for those days with a refrigerated bulk tank and swing over milking machines. I started work at 6am every day and worked for two hours before organising the children and getting them off to school. The day was spent working on paddocks and vegetables and then we milked again before cooking tea in the evening. I will never forget the morning Australia won the America’s cup. A friend turned up in the milking parlour with a bottle of champagne and a radio so we could listen as the boats sailed over the finish and celebrate!
In the nineties we left the farm with friends and our children and went to work in the Tanami desert taking our youngest son, Josh. This was the best adventure of my life and I shall always be grateful that I had the opportunity to live with Aboriginal people and learn about their culture. We also had time to read and think things over so that when we returned to the farm five years later we had more ideas to try.
At this stage I did the Permaculture Design course with Graeme George. At last I had found a group of people who had similar ideas about how to live. Now we could begin sharing knowledge with others and things progressed fast. With the help of Wwoofers we set up in business as a host farm. This was great fun and we met interesting people from all over the world.
This period ended in 2009 with the bush fires. We felt as if thirty years of effort had vanished overnight. Oh well, at least this time we knew what to do, so we started again from scratch. Luckily my eldest son, Alvyn, is an architect and he helped us design a new house and sheds. Our house is designed like a cave and stays at about 22 degrees all year round and we have included many features that we think will help in the case of future fires. Sheep keep the grass under control on our roof and we still have a few goats and have a dairy to make cheese.
The ruins of our old house have been adapted to provide an outdoor living area complete with shelter shed, kitchen and pizza oven. The old garden has been retained as a food forest and chooks live in near-by orchards.