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A century of harvesting at Kooloongong

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One other harvest is wrapping up for the Murphy household at Kooloonong, within the scorching and dry Victorian Mallee, however that is no extraordinary 12 months as a result of these chickpeas symbolize the top of the household’s a centesimal harvest.

“Over the following month or so we’ll in all probability sit down with a beer and look again on the final 100 years,” fourth-generation farmer, Jason Murphy says.

“We’re fairly pleased with what the household has achieved.” 

Jason Murphy stands in a harvested paddock and there's a field bin behind him
Jason Murphy is the fourth technology of the household to work on the farm at Kooloonong.(ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas)

It is not simply chickpeas.

Wheat, barley, canola, oaten hay, and vetch have additionally been harvested prior to now few months.

In a perfect world, this main milestone could be celebrated with a bumper crop however sadly that isn’t the case this 12 months.

man in harvester
Fourth-generation farmer Jason Murphy can strip as much as 2025 hectares an hour.(ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas)

The 2021 crops had been sown dry and didn’t start to germinate till mid to late June.

“We had been behind the eight ball proper from the phrase go after which in fact all of it come up without delay,” Mr Murphy says.

“So then we bought hit with a little bit of frost after which the rain, late spring got here a bit too late. However that is the sport you are in and also you be taught fairly fast to roll with the punches.”

letterbox shaped like a John Deere tractor
Members of the Murphy household have simply accomplished their a centesimal harvest at Kooloonong, within the Victorian Mallee.(ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas)

The evolution of Kooloonong

When James Murphy arrived right here as a soldier settler after coming back from WWI, he was confronted with clearing Mallee scrub from his 260-hectare property.

A black and white photograph of James Murphy
When James Murphy returned from WWI, he obtained 640 acres (260 hectares) of land in Kooloonong through the soldier settler scheme.(Provided: Michael Murphy)

James’s grandson Michael Murphy says it was robust work however the space was booming.

“Kooloonong was fairly large. It had a hospital and faculties and even an open-air cinema, a few butcher retailers, a few bakeries, so it was fairly a thriving place actually,” Mr Murphy says.

Today Kooloonong is made up of a hearth station, a corridor, and grain silos.

Solely three soldier settler households stay within the city, however Mr Murphy says the others have not been forgotten.

A black and white photo of a team of horses pulling a machine that was used to help clear scrubland
A horse-drawn Mallee scrub curler at work in Kooloonong.(Provided: Michael Murphy)

“Every farmer round right here retains the paddocks by the soldier settler names, it helps us establish them and retains the historical past within the space,” he says.

Michael Murphy is standing with a large green harvester in the background
Michael Murphy has been farming at Kooloonong for 44 years.(ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas)

Altering farming practices

Outdated harvesters and tractors may be discovered on the Murphys’ property, giving an perception into farming life in earlier a long time.

They’re dramatically totally different to the massive machines which can be round right now, which Jason Murphy says can strip as much as 20–25 hectares an hour.

“The outdated headers would not have executed something like that in a day,” he says.

Trendy tractor cabins are high-tech and in addition include air-con and fridges to make life on the land extra snug.

Jason Murphy has two kids, aged 10 and eight, so it’s too early to inform if they’ll grow to be the fifth technology to take over the farming enterprise.

“I am going to depart that as much as them,” he says.

“They may not be as foolish as I’m to hold by what we do, however my little boy he is pretty into what we’re doing out right here.”

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