A little bit of family history scandal makes fascinating reading

With a close friend currently doing dairy genomic research in Ireland I was inspired to try and locate my family origins and see if she was close by

Both sides of my family arrived in the Illawarra region of NSW via Ireland between 1830 and 1841.

By the time I found myself back to my dairy roots, my father’s family hadn’t been dairying for 20 years and family history was rarely discussed

But as they were early settlers there is no shortage of family history online and I must admit I was fascinated by the evocative language of the time. The obituaries (see bottom of page) in particular make compelling reading.

And I am so glad I did this research I just would have loved to have known my great, great grandfather. It appears he was a bit of a trendsetter, didn’t mind standing out from the crowd and had his fair share of knockers.

John LIndsay

This is how he is recorded in local history – don’t you love the language

‘John Lindsay was one of the leaders in the dairy industry. John was an innovative thinker, willing to take risks in building up his dairy cattle. He owned a herd of Ayrshire dairy cattle that was the envy of his peers.

Lindsay was born in Ireland, in 1832, arriving in Australia in 1841 on the Orestes.  In 1878, John created a minor scandal when he purchased “The Earl of Beaconsfield’, an Ayrshire bull, for 100 pounds ($200). Local farmers thought this was foolish and extravagant. These cattle enabled him to make his herd outstanding, producing prized dairy products and show animals for many years. A daughter of Lord Beaconsfield named Honeycomb was declared the Champion Cow of the World in 1889 wining 62 ribbons and producing 36 litres of milk per day.

and the fabulous HoneyComb


Cows in Australia today can produce up to 120 litres per day and over 23,000 litres per year and some 160,000 plus litres in their lifetime. One of the key visual differences is the length of the cows teats. In 1889 it was preferential for cows to have longer teats because they were milked by hand.


Today their teats are much shorter, their udders more compact and cows have been bred to have the ability to produce large volumes of milk from increased feed conversion efficiency ( that is ability to turn grass into milk very efficiently) which means they generate less green house gas emissions per litre of milk produced.

I am confident my great, great grandfather would be very excited about the dairy cows of the 21st century and would be enthralled by the genomic research that Dr Jo Newton is doing in Ireland. I feel a guest blog coming on

*  the obituaries make compelling reading. This is how the death of my great, great grandfather’s younger brother was reported

As briefly stated in last issue, Mr. T. F. Lind
say, of Unanderra, died somewhat unexpectedly
at his residence on Friday afternoon. Mr.
Lindsay had been in his usual state of health
Thursday, on which day he was engaged branding
calves. While overheated, he drank rather
copiously of water, and in the afternoon com
plained of severe cramps in the stomach. Dr.
Thompson was sent for, and pronounced the
attack one of British cholera, at the same time hold
ing out little hope of recovery. Though everything
that medical skill could devise was done, Mr.
Lindsay, after a brief illness of less than
twenty-four hours, but which was very severe
while it lasted, succumbed to the dread malady
in the afternoon of Friday. Mr. Lindsay being
widely known throughout the district and
deservedly held in the highest esteem, a very
large concourse of people had assembled at his
late residence at noon (the hour fixed for the
funeral), but a telegram having been received by
the family from an only sister of the deceased
gentleman who resided near Melbourne to the
effect that she was leaving by the express train,
and asking to delay the funeral if possible, the
mournful procession was delayed until 2 o’clock.
The funeral cortege was one of the largest ever
seen in this district. On reaching St. Luke’s,
the coffin was conveyed into the church, where
the Rev. J. Stack, the incumbent, conducted a
short service, after which the body was consigned
to the tomb in close proximity to the graves of
the deceased’s lamented father and mother
and other members of the family, Rev.
J. Stack again officiating. The late Mr.
Lindsay was of a genial and kindly disposition,
and universally esteemed for his many virtues.
For some years past he took a warm interest in
municipal matters, and occupied a seat in the
Central Illawarra Council. He also took an
active part in the formation and furthering of the
interests of the Unanderra dairy factory, of
which he was also a director. Like the rest of
the family of that name, he was a successful
dairyman, and at all times took a prominent part
in connection with the Dapto Agricultural and
Horticultural Society, being an active member of
the committee up to the time of his death. The
deceased gentleman was the youngest member of
the Lindsay family, and was almost a native of
the district, being only one year old when he
arrived here with his parents. He died in the
full strength and vigor of his manhood, having
only reached the age of 49 when he was thus
suddenly cut off. He leaves behind him (in ad
dition to other relatives to mourn their loss) a
widow and twelve children, the ages of the latter
ranging almost from infancy to well on towards
25 years.

Don’t expect to see positive change if you surround yourself with negativity

As soon as you pass through the magnificent avenue of trees at Gundowringa at Crookwell you realise you have arrived at a farm steeped in heritage


Charlie Prell inspired by the visionaries who came before him 

On your left is the 160-year-old  woolshed that in its heyday accommodated 16,000 sheep and the stone shearer’s quarters built in 1916

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Today it sleeps up to 18 to supplement the farm’s income through fly fishing and farmstay opportunities

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On your right is a stone cottage of the same era and to the right of the stone cottage stands the pavilion that once overlooked the cricket oval


But the pièce de résistance is the homestead. Everything else is a reminder of when the country rode on the sheep’s back. The homestead underpins why the family is so committed to making farming work for them and the generations to come in the 21st Century

Gundowringa Homestead was built by Chas E Prell in 1905 out of basalt and granite and roof tiles that were used as ballast on ships doing the round trip from UK to Australia 


Chas E Prell – the first of 5 generations of the Prell family on Gundowringa

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The gardens were laid out while the house was being built. There are some very impressive large trees, some now over 100 years old. Including what is believed to be the oldest and largest Linden grown in this country. Other breathtaking species include an evergreen example of the liquid amber family the Liquidamber festerii

It was the rose garden and the horizontal elm, with the flattened canopy designed to allow you to walk under that caught my eye.

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The house has maid’s quarters and when first built visitors were greeted at the door by a butler. At the height of the wool boom the property supported thirty jobs

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The homestead was adapted to use as farmstay accommodation in 2000 by Charlie’s parents Jeff and Jess Prell until Jess death in 2008


Jeff Prell – a man with every right to be proud of what his family has achieved and the perfect host to share his family heritage past

Jeff has found love again and married local artist Margaret Shepherd whose studio and artworks bring a new vibrancy to the homestead

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The current generation have a lot to inspire them and inspired they are. Inspired to adapt and move with the times. Inspired to respect the landscape and work in partnership with it


Jeff and Charlie Prell marching into the future 

Like his great grandfather and his namesake Charlie Prell knows that pioneers who advocate and help drive change are often initially perceived as being radical in the extreme particularly by people entrenched in the past


Charlie Prell – a bright future relies on innovation and making the most of the ssets you have 

What we often forget is what traditionally sets people like Charlie and his great grandfather apart is their commitment to the greater good. Charlie Prell has leased part of Gundowringa to a company who will install a wind farm. He is also helping farmers across Australia find alternate fresh income streams from renewable energy technology.


The site of the future Gundowringa Windfarm

Charlie is using part of his new stream of passive income to reinvigorate and drought proof the farm and embrace the opportunities that the combination of the diverse income streams of renewable energy, tourism and food and fibre production offer to sustaining generations of Prell family members as long as they wish to remain there.

Nobody will ever be able to say that Charlie Prell is a victim of the disconnect between reality of the vargaries of farming and the idealism of the view that food and fibre production alone will keep Australian farming families in business for the long haul in the 21st Century

Today it’s hard to believe that the now acknowledged visionary Chas E Prell the man who epitomised the “producing more with less’ ethos and pioneered pasture improvement utilising superphosphate fertiliser was in his time considered a maverick who didn’t follow convention. Its a reminder that its important not to forget the past. What’s even more important is to learn from it.

Change is the law of life

I recently heard some-one say the jobs available in ten years’ time to young people currently in primary school wont have been heard of today. My greatest hope is that agriculture becomes a visionary in learning from its past and embracing the opportunities a partnership between farmers and nature offers





Todays Youth Tomorrows Farmer

Last weekend I went back to my roots and visited my dad who I have always called John

John is one of a large number of farmers who are contributing to the rising age of the average farmer i.e. still going strong at 83.


John and Lucy

I always thought the ‘average age of farmers’ figures are pretty woolly in that farmers who continue to live where they work never retire.

John and John IMG_6996

Just to prove my point meet John’s  next door neighbour also called John (on the bike – check out my John’s hot Ute) 82 years old  and still running a slick operation his farm 

As my John says “what would I do”.  Indeed unless your lifelong dream is to spend your retirement travelling the world then where better to spend your time than doing what you love best. clip_image003

In my dad’s case that is growing prime Angus steaks for your table


And growing the best pasture he can (and conserving it) to make sure those cows he loves so much are well fed

Now my dad is still waiting for his son to return to the farm.


Things where looking up 3 years ago when all his worldly possession arrived on the door step

But he was lured away by lucrative offers from the mining companies and my dad lives for the time he comes home on short breaks as he is this week. I will do a whole blog post on my dad and his farm shortly.

We know young people are the key to success for agriculture and I know agriculture has talented young people ready to take on the challenge. Young people with fire in their bellies taking every opportunity to generate a buzz around Australian agriculture   .

I know this because I work with these exciting young people every day

This weekend I am down in Bega and taking time out to visit two of these dynamos in  Art4Agriculture Young Dairy Farming Champions, Andrew D’Arcy and Tom Pearce.

Both Tom and Andrew have been farming side by side with their dads ever since they left school (and in reality since the day they were tall enough to put cups on cows)

The Pearce family lives on Pearce’s Rd as you do when generations of your family have farmed in the one spot. My dad lives on a road named after his farm


940 acres of rolling hills, bush and pasture. The pasture is currently 50:50 perennials to annuals with the traditional kikuyu base over sown with perennial and annual ryegrass, chicory and plantain over sown with oats in the autumn for those into the technical


Norm and Tom Pearce work side by side to milk 260 cows in a 16 aside swing over herringbone dairy

The farm is beautiful

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And the cows  _


and their offspring are happy and contented


This  one peeking around the corner of the tree is a bit like Tom’s dad a bit camera shy

The farm is heaped in tradition and I so enjoyed the walk from the ‘new’ dairy up to the original walk through dairy where the cows where milked by hand up until the 1950’s

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Tom’s sister is getting married shortly here and you can see the views will make for great wedding photos

Tom Pearce  (3)

The Pearce’s have recently installed a K-Line irrigation system to improve water use efficiency. Whilst they have a 560 mega litre water license , they currently only have a 40% allocation. Water is indeed a very expensive and very precious water resource.

You can check out how K-Line irrigation works in this great little vid

Tom Pearce is of course the farmer who puts the cheese on your cracker

Tom Pearce  (10)

and was recently immortalized on the front of Bega’s Colby CheeseTom-Pearce-Farmers-Tasty-Cheese_thumb.jpg

Tomorrow I am off to visit the Andrew D’Arcy. Wow wait till you see the technology on Team D’Arcy’s farm

BTW Curious like I was what this is

Walk thru dairy  (1)

Tom tells me this is an antique wooden ice chest now home to Roger the Rat

History is remembered by how the historians write it

When I first started writing this blog just over 12 months ago it was (or so I thought) an opportunity to share with the community and provide insights into what happens on our dairy farm and the diverse ways beyond the farm gate I use to share that story and advocate for the people and the places behind the food we eat     .

Now as it turns out my readers are invariably much more interested in my agri-political commentary so these days my posts tend to be more about the challenges of farming and the supply chain that delivers the milk from my farm to your glass. That’s fine that’s what my readers want.

For me it has become a record of my life and the way I think and feel about a number of things. Its also an outlet and a hobby ( of which I have too few). Its cathartic. There are times when the web that strangles agriculture so frustrates me I want to scream so I sit down and I vent through my blog and I feel better and I can get on with life and and have a productive day. I love the feedback. Its like having a huge virtual support network  to get you through the tough times

It has other advantages too.  My father is an avid reader of my blog. As I am dreadful at keeping in touch with family and friends the blog helps make up for this flaw in my personality


I have been hassling my father for quite some time to write me some guest blog posts and share with my readers some insights into his life growing up on the dairy farm. Remember this is the man who constantly told me growing up “Lynne never learn to milk a cow” so obviously dairy farming wasn’t his idea of the ideal career pathway. I am not sure if he jinxed me but I did try once to milk cows and it was a disaster and I quickly learnt to stick at what I do best

Whilst I was in WA in November last year I took the opportunity to visit my father’s brother and his wife  – the gorgeous Uncle Dave and Aunty Ros,  In an effort to gain family solidarity in my drive to get my father blogging his family history I told my Aunt and Uncle of my plan and how I thought it would help greatly if we had some photos

I was very excited when Uncle Dave and Aunty Ros said they believe they have some photos going back to when my dad was just a youngster in boxes in their garage (mine are in boxes in my roof – that goodness for the new digital age) and they are unearthing them for me and then we can see if these ‘blasts from the past’  give my father the necessary inspiration

What they have unearthed to date is this


That’s me on the left with Uncle Dave on his wedding day. My cousin and I were flower girls. I was thrilled to see I was even a fashion icon way back then with pink glasses to match the pink flower girl dress.

BTW Dad you are on notice – its time to start tapping on that iPad

Got my walking shoes on today

With my 2013 mission to live everyday as if it was your last, today Michael and I joined forces with our good friends Bev and Don to do the magnificent 6km section of the Kiama Coastal Walk from Kiama to Gerringong.

Loves Bay to Werri Beach Lagoon

Bev and Don are doing a walking holiday through Spain and Morocco later in the year so now looked like as good a time as any to get fit.

Loves Bay Kiama Coastal Walk

And before you knew it we were off – looking pretty confident at this stage considering all four of us had major surgery during the year

Kiama Coastal Walk  (2)

Our section of the walk took as on a ‘dramatic, coast-hugging route between Kiama Heights and Werri Lagoon’.

Kiama Coastal Walk  (5)

A popular spot for taking out the tinnie

Kiama Coastal Walk  (12)

Looking back to Kiama

Kiama Coastal Walk  (11)

The boys were keen to set the pace. Check out that work boot tan

Kiama Coastal Walk  (14)

Sadly there were far too many fisherman playing Russian Roulette on the rocks without lifejackets

Kiama Coastal Walk  (9)

and illegal squatters Tut tut

Kiama Coastal Walk  (18)

Kiama’s very own ‘apostle”

Kiama Coastal Walk  (19)

The Kiama coastline at 8am this morning – just divine

Michael Strong

says Michael

A little bit of history for you from the brochure ……….

“The Kiama area was once dominated by a vast rainforest known as the Long Brush. By the time the cedar-getters arrived in the Kiama area in 1815, the local Aboriginal people would have been aware of the impending changes to their way of life. Strange and deadly diseases would have already arrived and the spread of the destruction of the bushland was certainly feared.”

Kiama Coastal Walk  (16)

By the 1820’s Kiama was supplying 9/10ths of the Sydney Cedar Market. The round insert and reference on the map shows the tiny patch of coastline that still supports the rainforest. As you can see from the first picture the cows in the pastures along the coastline would welcome the return of some trees

“As land grants were taken up, the traditional owners were forced from their lands.”

Kiama Coastal Walk  (4)

“Before long the magnificent forests were cleared to provide timber for the new colony, expose the volcanic soils for crops such as potatoes and wheat, and clear the way for dairy farms”*

Kiama Co-op Butter Factory

Kiama Pioneer Butter Factory – Australia’s first Dairy CO-OP opened in 1869

At the half way mark we were all starting to feel pretty confident we were going to make it

Kiama Coastal Walk  (13)

Lynne and Michael Strong

Lynne and Michael looking confident

Bev and Don Coltman

as did Bev and Don

Kiama Coastal Walk  (20)

When you see these magnificent cliffs you know have made it and you can pat yourself on the back.

Werri Beach Lagoon

Before we knew it we had reached Werri Beach Lagoon

Werri Beach  (2)

and Kerrie was waiting to take us to breakfast

Sea Vista

and how lucky were we to avoid the queues we saw as we left ?

Breakfast at Sea Vista (1)

after tasting the food. (Which dairy farmer chews his nails????)

Breakfast at Sea Vista (2)

and drinking the milk shakes and lattes

Werri Beach

and taking in the view at the Sea Vista Cafe, Gerringong, we could understand why people were prepared to wait 

Such a special day, so many wonderful natural resources to appreciate and along the walk you may be reminded of days past,

or you may just enjoy the rolling hills, boulder beaches, sea caves, rock platforms and exposed cliffs that create the dramatic scenery and from May to June and September to November, the walk provides great vantage points for whale watching.

Michael Strong and Bev and Don Coltman

Well worth a visit we can guarantee you !!!!!!!

* BTW  You can read the history of dairying in the Illawarra here

Coles and Woolworths in the Spotlight

Its another week on the road for me doing different and exciting things every day. I am noticing in the background Colesworth are getting their share of the conversation on Twitter and in the press from all angles.

Firstly twitter is a buzz with indignation from farmers and their supporters that the big two are major sponsors of the National Farmers Federation Congress. I have some considered thoughts on that so expect a blog post later in the week on this one.

Then there is Animals Australia in the news again and the Coleworths PR machines earning their crusts piggybacking on the media circus surrounding them.

Animals Aus now their is one clever organisation organisation with seemingly endless buckets of money to fight for their ideals for animal rights. Whether their vision for animals is right or wrong I just shake my head. Its man’s inhumanity to man that is indefensible and the suffering of women and children in some third world countries just beggars belief, yet rich people and some not so rich donate millions and millions of dollars for Animals Australia Trojan horse campaigns to convince meat eaters to become vegans.  Enough said on that

Yesterday saw me back at my old alma mater Sydney University for a board meeting. This gave me the opportunity to catch up with a very special young man doing agricultural science at Sydney Uni who lives at Andrews College which was a hop skip and jump away from my board meeting venue. Though when the rain bucketed down as I was walking there it wasn’t near close enough and to top it all off I had hot pink shoes on and now I have hot pink feet.

Richie Quigley has stepped in at the last minute to a fill a gap in the Cotton Young Farming Champions team.


The facilities at Andrews College at Sydney Uni are quite astounding. I asked Richie to pose behind the bar for this shot 

With a blog post, video and now a PowerPoint presentation and after yesterday a  two hour session with Art4Agriculture personal and professional development coach Annie Burbrook now under his belt wow does agriculture have a superstar rising fast.

Richie’s family run Quigley Farms. Check out their Facebook site here and Richie’s blog post for Art4Agriculture here. This is one family crazy about cotton and very proud to grow it in the most efficient way they can. What an inspiring afternoon I had learning all about it from Richie 

Richie as I said earlier lives at Andrews College on the Sydney Uni Campus. Andrews College is steeped in tradition and it was quite a déjà vu  moment to walk up the steps yesterday.


There are photos of the walls showing cows in the paddocks in front of the college. Apparently in those days you could donate cows to the college to pay for your board


Magnificent wood panelling and stained glass windows everywhere 


Andrews College has many fond memories for me. I mentioned to Richie I had attended a formal with HT ( short for heart throb – the nickname given to Michael by my uni friends) there where the bands Airsupply and Sherbet and Andy Gibb played all on the one night. I had a feeling their albums where not in Richie’s collection.


I just had to take a picture of this tree yesterday. This is where HT first said those three little words that make a girl’s heart sing when she knows the man of her dreams feels the same way about her. Aaaaaaaaaaaah mmh memories

Some generations embrace technology a lot faster than others

This weekend my dad came to visit and he took home is new toy, which I must say he mastered in quick time


John and his new ipad

Now John has a sense of humour very like  Michael  Trant ,so we added his blog  to his list of favourites

Check out his face as he reads through The Golden Rules of Farming


Update 10 years later in  John’s 92 year Michael Trant is a published fiction author ( and a very good one) So it was a no brainer that John would be sent an autographed copy of his book for his birthday

Now I am a 6th generation dairy farmer’s daughter of a 5th generation dairy farmer who turned beef farmer as soon as the opportunity arose. I can always remember John telling me from a very early age “Lynne never ever learn to milk a cow”

As is usually the case when John comes to visit there is quite a bit of reminiscing about his life growing up on the family dairy farm at Dapto.

John’s sister my Aunty Ruth recently wrote the family history and below are some extracts which shed some insights on my grandfather Walter Dunster Lindsay and what it was like to dairy in the Illawarra in the 1930’s to 1950’s . You can also see why John would have found milking cows with his father pretty frustrating. The post also gives some insights into why many farmers in the Illawarra were never particularly fond of the Dairy Farmers Cooperative who had a reputation for being very ruthless with their competitors

Some previous background can also be found in this  post 

Extract from Lindsay Family history by Ruth Rae

Walter was born into a dairy farming family well known in Dapto and throughout the Illawarra of that time. His ancestors had all been farmers, leaders in the community and very well respected.

He was a gentle man, slow to anger and rather shy. This shyness may well have been because he was born with a harelip and cleft palate, neither mended with today’s skills. He probably took more interest in his children than he showed but he seemed to have all the conservatism and indifference to his young family that he claimed his forebears displayed so abundantly. He left his wife, Ethel, to dispense both tenderness and discipline. Only once did he show anger and act upon it. That was when he was obliged to return to the dairy late one evening and did some damage to his shins when he tripped over his son John’s bike which had been carelessly left on the ground just outside the gate from the house. John, despite his protests, was the recipient of a sound hiding according to the traditions of justice of the day. It was only later that it became clear that it was a workman who had borrowed the bike, and not John, and had thrown it on the ground at the gate when he had finished with it. None of the children ever received any form of punishment from their father from that day on.

He did his work slowly, thoroughly and methodically, illustrated by his technique for washing up. He took responsibility for this within the dairy for half a century and, after retirement, continued it into the kitchen. First everything was rinsed, then washed immaculately, then rinsed again. It took all evening for he suspected that detergents had hidden implications for health. When he weeded a garden the result was just perfect and raked evenly to a fine tithe.

His conservatism extended to all things mechanical and, when a shortage of labour during the war forced Lindsay Bros to buy a milking machine, it was taken on with extreme suspicion and reluctance. For most of the war years the cows were milked by machine in the morning because it was the only way to get the job done and by hand in the afternoon when an extra person was available. Even with the machine his distrust was such that he always sat down and verified that the machine had done its work properly by doing a short finishing milking, or stripping as it was called. The cows gradually got used to this and saved up some of their milk for the hand milking so that some of them gave as much milk the second time around as they had initially given to the machine. Consequently milking 80 to 100 cows took an eternity and an inordinate amount of manpower- 6-7 hours a day plus another 2-3 hours for washing and cleaning the dairy equipment.

Milk machines sepia

In 1864 the first attempt to introduce milking machines to dairy farmers in Australia was made. However the machines were met with great suspicion and cows continued to be milked by hand twice daily seven days a week for many decades to come. Strange but true!

There was not a lot of time for other farm work or recreation and he indulged in very little of either. This remained the case until the “Karara” herd was dispersed in 1958.

It was many years before he could afford a car (his brother Eric owned one and that was the family car) but he was very pleased with the one he bought and he drove it skilfully and well.

He had a good relationship with Eric and they had nicknames for each other. Dad was ‘Andy’ when Gug was ‘Horace’ while, in other gender mood, Gug was ‘Katie’ and Dad ‘Lena’.

Walter and Eric began to value add (to use a modern expression) to their dairy farming activity by becoming vendors of milk. Eric was the entrepreneur (to use another modern expression) and Walter the anchor man. To upgrade the herd Eric went to New Zealand and bought a prize bull.


Dairy Farming in the blood – 6th and 7th Generation dairy farmers Lynne and Nick Strong collecting Champion Holstein Cow trophy  at Albion Park Show 20 years ago –

It became an extremely successful business and WD & ES Lindsay, later to be called Lindsay Bros, was, at its height, retailing more milk in the Wollongong-Port Kembla district than any other firm including the Dairy Farmers Cooperative Milk Company. Some 8 or 9 farmers in the district sold their milk to the firm and this was cooled, stored and distributed through some 3 domestic milk runs and a wholesale network that included almost every milk bar and general store from Dapto in the south to Austinmeer and Coaldale in the north.

milk to factory horses sepia

Eric would go to bed early and set off in the wee small hours with a laden truck to start the day’s distribution. Particularly in the hot months he would leave the milk in the cool room till the last possible time necessitating the early rising. After the war draconian and unfair government regulations were imposed that forced all other farmers to sell their milk only to a government agent which was the rival Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative.

Milkman Delivering Milk

The Dairy Farmers Cooperative was a ruthless competitor

With the loss of their major source of supply, Lindsay Bros were forced to sell their domestic business and retain only the wholesale business in the city of Wollongong itself. Their milk was subjected to regular and intrusive testing, while that of the rival company was not, but was always found to be well above the prescribed norms. Eric bought the farm, “Kembla Park” and a subsidiary dairy was set up to augment the supply of milk. Lindsay Bros also bought a small farm at Albion Park to run dry and young stock, but the retail business was only a shadow of its former size. The company could not afford or warrant upgrading its machinery to enable processing and pasteurization which were beginning to be an important part of the industry and the business and herd were sold in 1958. The Dairy Farmers Coop bought the plant which they scrapped to forestall potential competitors but the herd, which had become well known for its productivity in the State herd testing scheme, attracted excellent prices for the time. Walter was 65 at this time and Eric 64 so retirement was timely option.

Dad and Mum fell in love 7 years before they were married, the first of his family to do so. They had to wait for several reasons: her responsibilities to her parents (her two sisters had moved away and were working) and the need to have a home when the farm was established. Karara only had on it a weatherboard old house with no facilities whatever and a cloying smell of dust and age. There was also the matter of religion – he, Protestant and she, Catholic. The exact details of the arrangement that allowed this to happen were never divulged but Mum was presumably excommunicated from the Catholic Church because she never attended mass again. They were married in St Phillips in Sydney and went home to a rented house called “Lakeview’ at Unanderra- a house with no electricity and home to a host of possums. Gug joined them and lived with them for the rest of their lives. Dad spoke of the Catholic Church only with bitterness but he always avoided mentioning the subject of their marriage.

Fortunately, the acrimony did not extend beyond the church and the Carr and Lindsay families had an extremely good relationship.

After the business was sold the garden became a pleasant hobby. He had always had a love of nature and knew all the birds around the farm. He watched them nesting and was so determined that they would not be disturbed that he told nobody about it. I often regret not having been allowed to share his knowledge. Mum would always consult him before hanging out the washing, and I can’t remember that his forecasts were ever wrong. I understand that he had only one year of secondary schooling, but he must have absorbed a tremendous amount of knowledge later as he read the Herald from cover to cover.

One very cold winter when Dad and Mum were house-sitting in Cowra for John and Robyn, I sent them an electric blanket. This was a sheer delight to him – there was only one control and he would set it to keep very warm, while Mum, who couldn’t spoil his enjoyment, slept with both feet outside the sheets. When small battery radios came in he considered it pure heaven to lie in a warm bed, head in the cool air, listening to news from far places. Then I would be called in to prepare a very large, cold milkshake which he drank with gusto before turning out the light………

Sadly I don’t have a picture of my grandfather to share with you I must rectify that and fast

As I said my dad is 82 but he is determined to live life to the fullest and we couldn’t help but laugh when he couldn’t leave without first putting his destination into another toy his Tom Tom – after all he has been driving from the Illawarra to Cowra for almost 60 years


Check out those low profile tyres

PS John hope you enjoy reading this post

Found a little bit of family history in particular the legend John was named after here

John Lindsay was a prominent pioneer of the region with strong ties to the growth of cattle breeding and dairying in the Illawarra. His success at cattle breeding- notably the string of competition victories for Honeycomb brought Lindsay to the attention of breeders throughout New South Wales and beyond. Due in part to his extensive landholdings at ‘Lake View’, he became a prominent character in the civil life of the bourgeoning township of Berkeley and Albion Park. He was the son of George Lindsay, another noted figure of the area who is credited by some to be the first man to send butter by keg from the Illawarra to the lucrative Sydney market.

John Lindsay was the second son of the noted farmer and local pioneer George Lindsay.

George Lindsay was born in 1802/5 at Fintona, a village in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland to William Lindsay and Mary Simpson. In 1826 at Fintona, Ireland he married Jane McCauley. They had four sons and one daughter prior to their migration to Australia. The children were named (in order of birth) William, John, George, Anne and Thomas Francis.

William: b. 1829 d. 1881; married S. Bryen
John: b. 1832 d. 1894; Kembla Park, Unanderra; married Jane Musgrave
George: b. 1834 d. 1896 Sunnyside, West Dapto; married Eliza Little
Anne: b. 1838 d. Berwick, Victoria; married James Wilson
Thomas Francis: b. 1840 d. 1889 Unanderra; married Sarah Philips

The Lindsay family emigrated to Australia, arriving per Orestes in Sydney on 14 May 1841, settling at Charcoal Creek. George and Jane arrived with the intention of becoming a farmhand and dairywomen respectively, and were brought over by A. B. Smith & Co. A bounty cost of seventy three pounds had been incurred.

George Lindsay opened a small store in Unanderra and secured two properties- one at Mt. Keira and the other at Charcoal Creek (30 acres), approximately one mile from the present Unanderra Railway Station. In 1843 George received a 35 acre gift from the N.S.W. government. With the assistance of his four sons, George commenced dairy farming and mixed farming (potatoes and wheat) at Lake View. This was brought to Wollongong by a horse and dray which was a common practice for the day before the Illawarra railway line had been extended to accommodate more rapid transportation of produce. It has been claimed that George Lindsay was the first to send a butter keg from the Illawarra to Sydney. This exchange was extended in coming decades with the Sydney market offering the greatest prospects for the sale of dairy products from Illawarra farmers.

The sons of George Lindsay continued dairy farming at Lake View. John Lindsay became one of the most well celebrated dairy farmers of the region. He commenced farming on the 35 acre farm that was given to his father by the Crown. When the property became too small for his operations, he rented a part of the Keelogue’s Estate, where he remained until 1859 when he retired temporarily from dairy farming. In the same year, Lindsay purchased Kembla Park, where he built a home for his family, and 200 acres from Berkeley Estate and two other properties adjoining Kembla Park that were 105 acres and 45 acres respectively. Beyond this property, John purchased 60 cows from Berkeley Estate. On the 19th of November 1866, John’s father, George Lindsay passed away at “Kembla Park” or “Lake View”, Unanderra. He was burred at St. Luke’s Brownsville.

John Lindsay and his wife Jane Musgrave were parents to four daughters and four sons during their time at Unanderra. The children were named (in order of birth) Ann Jane, George, John, Eliza, Sarah Jane, Thomas William, Charles Love and Lavinia Florence.

Ann Jane: b. 1853 d. 1903 Unanderra; unmarried
George: b. 1855 d. 1946 “Horsley” West Dapto; married 1886 Sarah I.H. Grey
John: b. 1857 d. 1930 “Horsley” West Dapto; married Mary Dunster
Eliza: b. 1861 d. 1944 Kembla Park, Unanderra; unmarried
Sarah Jane: b. 1863 d. 1948 Penrose Dapto; married Evan Eustace Evans
Thomas William: b. 1864 d. 1941 Kembla Park Unanderra; unmarried
Charles Love: b. 1868 d. 1950 Wollongong; married Margaret Campbell
Lavinia Florence: b. 1870 d. 1907 Kembla Park, Unanderra; unmarried

The timing of the purchase of two properties “Horsley” and “West Horsley” by John Lindsay is contested. One account suggests “Horsley” was purchased in 1876 by auction. The property “West Horsley” which is correctly identified as being located east of “Horsley” is also recorded, though the date and method of purchase is absent from the account. This account is listed in Illawarra Pioneers Pre 1900, which was compiled by the Illawarra Family History Group Inc. and published in 1988 (page 102). A second account of the purchase is provided by Arthur Cousins in Garden of N.S.W., published in 1948 (page 110). This account records the purchase of “Horsley” as occurring in 1866, with the purchase of “West Horsley” occurring a few years later. “Horsley”, a property of 500 acres, is listed as being purchased from Miss Brooks. It is claimed that John Lindsay established his son George at “Horsley” and another son John at “West Horsley”.

I think this is a pix of my great Aunt’s at West Horsley

In 1878 John Lindsay created a minor scandal amongst his fellow dairymen in the region with his supposedly extravagant purchase of a finely bred Ayrshire bull, The Earl of Beaconsfield, from Mr. Buchanan of Berwick for £100. In addition, he purchased two bulls, two cows and two heifers (all Ayrshires) from his brother-in-law, James Wilson. The risk paid off substantially for Lindsay by enabling him to establish a herd that was celebrated above all others in the Illawarra. From the herd he bred Honeycomb, which became the champion NSW cow of its day.

When the price of butter had declined to 6d per bound, John Lindsay together with James and Thomas Wilson of Victoria established a cheese factory at Brown’s old flour mill, located in Brownsville. The plant installed at the factory was brought up from Victoria. Local dairymen supplied the factory with milk that fetched a price of 3½d. per gallon. Within a few months the price of butter rose and the milk supply collapsed when it became redirected towards butter production. The factory was subsequently closed. In 1894 John Lindsay died at Kembla Park, Unanderra. He was buried at St. Luke’s in Brownsville, like his father George Lindsay. A cheese press used at the factory is also held in the collection of the Illawarra Museum. It is a double screw model constructed from cast iron and tin components.

In 1969 a small snapshot of John Lindsay’s time at “Kembla Park” was revealed during the demolition of buildings on the site. A bottle containing several items was found. The first of the bottle’s contents was a threepenny coin made in 1881 that had a small hole at the centre. The second item was a copy of the Wollongong Argus, dated 1 September 1886. Also found in the bottle was a letter that read,

“Kembla Park, Unanderra. This letter was placed under this stone on 2nd day September 1, 1886. This dairy was built for Mr. John Lindsay J. P. by Mr. William Newson for one hundred and ninety pounds. He was the largest ‘Ayrshire’ breeder in the colonies and was the largest prize-taker both for cattle and butter; list of children; September, 1886.”

On the back of the doubled sheet was written-

“Latest events: Sydney Agricultural Show; Quarter Sessions; The first Wild Flower Show ever held at Dapto; the first Ball at Unanderra.”

Where does my grandfather fit in?

John: b. 1857 d. 1930 “Horsley” West Dapto; married Mary Dunster and they had 10 children 

Muriel born 1887 died 1961

Charles born 1888 died 1964 married Eileen McPhee

Joseph Roy born 1890 died 1929

Walter Dunster born 1893 died 1967 married my magnificent grandmother Ethel Sarah Carr

Eric Stanford ( my favourite great uncle) born 1894 died 1970

Estelle born 1897 died 1962

Harold Thornberry born 1895 died 1959

Doris born 1899  (Aunty Dos – very fond memories of this lady) died 1980

Hilda born 1900 died 1963

Hilton Born 1902 died 1964 Married Edith Martin


Garden of New South Wales: a history of the Illawarra & Shoalhaven districts 1770-1900, Cousins, Arthur, Sydney: Producers’ Co-operative Distributing Society Ltd, 1948, pp. 109-111

Illawarra Pioneers Pre 1900, Illawarra Family History Group Inc, Wollongong: The Group, 1988, page 102