The Government Experimental Farm

Way back in 1907, when our district was the most important area for the growing of Citrus and many other varieties of fruit, the Department of Agriculture purchased 40 acres of an old run down orchard in Galston Road, Dural, to be used as an experimental property for research into fruit disease and good orchard practice. The farm was situated where Uralla Road is now, with the main headquarters house about half way down that road.

Mr Archer was the Manager. At the Galston Road entrance there were sandstone columns on either side. When Uralla Rd was declared a Public road in the 1950’s, the stone was used at the entrance to one of the properties in the road. The Experimental Farm was used as a training scheme for boys selected in Great Britain needing agriculture experience. They were called the Dreadnaught Boys, because they were financed by money originally raised in England for the purchase of a Dreadnaught Battleship in 1909. 21 boys were selected and sent out to Dural for training. When W.W.1 was declared some of them were old enough to enlist. One of these was George Rook. Several years ago his daughter, Mrs. Patricia de Groot, gave some photos, which had been taken by George in 1914, to our Historical Society.

There was also an advertised scheme for the training of young woman in suitable agricultural interests “suited to the physique and temperament of women”, such as beekeeping , dairying, pig raising, and poultry farming, but it is not known if anybody applied.

An interesting point is that the old pioneers knew where to find underground water. There are several wells, with water only 2 or 3 metres below the surface, along the top of the hill in Uralla Rd and in San Remo Pl., but most of them have been filled in. Connection to the main water supply happened after about 1937 when the Water tower in Galston Road was built. It was the last project to be completed under the Depression Relief Scheme.

At the next meeting of the Dural Historical Society on Saturday, 10th June, at 2pm the Guest speaker will be Ian Hoskins who will speak about “The Spirituality of the Aborigines in the World History of Religion”. All welcome