One core issue affected everything while we were living on our farm at Mount Compass: we were poor.
I suspect my father’s enthusiasm to have his own patch of land blinded him to the economic realities of trying to run this property as a dairy farm. He presumably bought it cheap after the drought of 1961, but I’m told the bank manager was sceptical — even though he still approved the loan.
The facilities were basic. The milking shed was a simple cement brick rectangle with a corrugated iron roof. The dams and concrete water tank were only constructed later, and initially the sole water source was the bore and its unreliable pump.
One image that stays with me is my father in the middle distance, striding through the overgrown bracken over to the pumphouse, often in heavy rain or even a storm, to get that damn pump working again.
The house was basic too, but more about that another time. And I’ll talk about the effects of being poor later too.
Today, though, the three factors that caused the farm’s continual financial struggles, and an explanation of that photo.