Sunday, June 29, 2008

The End of an Age

How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you - you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences - like rags and shreds of your very life. ~Katherine Mansfield

This week saw the sale of the family farm.

It seems like the end of an age to me. It has been around with us, part of us for as long as I have known, of course, and for many years longer. It has been in my mother's ownership for over 30 years and her family purchased it over 50 years before that. Add that up and it's almost half of Australia's history as a country. It has been the place which was our section of our Australia. The place my ancestors pioneered in the region producing wool, wheat, barley, cotton and more. It was the place my mother grew up. The place she learned to cook, sew and garden, to ride horses. The place she took us back to with her Mum to enjoy lamingtons together on family picnics. Granny always made lamingtons for us to enjoy at Roydon. The place where I remember many fun moments with my family and friends: riding in the tractor, riding on the sulky, learning to drive the car when I was a young teenager, cooking pan-fried scones, camping out, picnics with my Granny, shearing in the shed and observing the many workers.

It was the place I found my little lamb, Bimbo, when I was about 10 years old. She was an orphan lamb whom I chased and chased and chased around the shearing shed, trying to catch her. Lucky for me, but possibly somewhat unlucky for her, she got caught in the fence. It was rather easy for me to "catch" her then. I pulled her out of the fence, showed Dad and we let her rest in the Landrover until we took her back to our home in town. I loved her, doted on her. Unfortunately she died after catching Tetanus after she was bitten by a dog while staying with a friend as we holidayed. This stayed with me for many years. I think I felt it wouldn't have happened if we hadn't left her. Maybe it gave me a very early sense of what responsibility for our loved ones means.

So now that place I am attached to has moved into new ownership. My Mum is pleased that the new owners are the old neighbours. They are happy for us to visit the old homestead whenever we like. I wonder how it will feel next time I do that. I imagine that sense of it being mine, of having been my place, of it being that part of the country my ancestors chose, will not be gone.

Photos courtesy of my brother and sister-in-law! Thankyou.

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