These Roadshows vehicles and personnel are attending over 300 events throughout Australia including agricultural shows and field days, industry events, food and wine festivals, rodeos, sporting events, music and cultural festivals.
These are great ways for people of all ages to learn more about Australian farmers and the vital role they play in feeding, clothing and housing the nation. A major purpose of the Roadshow is to encourage more Australians to pursue careers in the 'farm-sector'. (www.yearofthefarmer.com.au)
The 'Farm' is big business in Australia and the Roadshow will help to illustrate to a new generation there are many exciting ways to engage the rural sector which is the nation's biggest growth industry including academia where you don't even need to live on a farm, although many long to.
In a related article research conducted by the Australian Year of the Farmer showed 60 per cent of Aussies want to feel the grass under their feet and smell the fresh country air more often, however 42% have not visited rural areas in the past 5 years. (www.yearofthefarmer.com.au)
The Australian Year of the Farmer interested Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson as he was born and raised on a dairy at Crediton, which is on the Great Dividing Range 60 miles (100ks) west of Mackay at Eungella.
His late father Seymour Tronson was one of the pioneers of Crediton and attended the 50th anniversary celebration in 1985 where Seymour and Joan Tronson attained a copy of the testimonial book and T-Towel which have since been secured in the family archive.
A keen Diarist
Seymour Tronson was a keen diarist as were most of his and previous generations and his diary on “clearing the virgin land” is on-line in the Tronson Family Archive and the Mackay Library. The Mackay Mercury newspaper published an obituary upon his death in 2002.
His knick-name was “Trust to the Wind” as he partially chopped trees in a line “down the gully” and when the high winds came, his mathematical calculations were such that direction of the top tress falling was in perfect line. Each successive tree felled the next to the bottom of the gully. Time and time again, this was how he successfully cleared his hilly land.
These are some of Seymour Tronson's diary extracts:
1 October 1938
I fell on a stake, pierced under my arm The Wests (Bob West) said I would have to get it treated by a doctor but I didn’t want to, however I didn’t have my way. Norm Foster took me as far as the top of the range and rang the ambulance. They took me to hospital, arriving at hospital 1.30pm. They kept me there four days. The wound was poisoned by the sap of the stump and my shoulder was swollen. I then went to Mr Bath, then back up to the selection. Later that month I shifted my camp out of reach of the scrub fires.
27 December 1938
Bob West and I put up the dividing fence. I brought my camp this time back on the selection near the road as at that time there was a spring running. That spring runs about 6 months of the year and it kept running till August. I went to the Bath’s place for Christmas.
20 October 1939
I cut and cleared the logs down to where I was going to build my house, a distance of 15 chains, about 300 yards. Photographs show the big logs, my first humpy and the first and second houses. The first house was complete with floor, stove and proper spring bed with mattress. I had two rooms. Dad had shipped for me from Brisbane a half ton of galvanised iron roofing. The shipping charges from Brisbane to Mackay and Netherdale was cheaper than the truck cartage from Netherdale to the farm, although it was such a short distance.
My selection block 33 was more than half plateau red volcanic soil, almost had the smell of fertiliser about it. In fact Mr White took a sample back to Brisbane to the Department of Agriculture and had it tested. Their reply was that it was very good but if anything could do with a small quantity of lime. The very heavy rain falls washed the lime out of the soil.
I spent seven weeks putting the road in and building the house. The Wests and family wanted to get away for two months so I built a temporary bails near my house and brought his milkers up and milked them for him. The cream I sent to the factory was my pay. I did that so I could stay at home and get on with some work about the place. 2 months and 2 weeks I milked their cows.
I was at the Ross’ listening to the radio when War was declared. Now as a result petrol, tea, butter and clothing were rationed and this was it.
Diary is on-line
The full diary can be read on-line. At Seymour Tronson's funeral service, one diary entry received a good laugh and nod of acknowledgment of his character. Seymour had purchased a large old Austin and took a young bull (a pody) to the auction in it. His diary entry read that it paid for the car, so he may as well ride it in.
Such diary entries were common to farm life. Seymour Tronson along with the other men of the district constructed Crediton Hall. Like many farming communities around the nation, the community hall doubled up as the school, the community centre, the dance hall, church and the sunday school.
Australian Year of the Farmer Roadshow is a bountiful outcome to promote and publicise life on the farm.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html