Potted Histories

The Changing Face of Harvey District (1936-A)


This article appeared in the Sunday Times, 9 August 1936.

Townspeople and Well-Known Farmers

Throughout the Harvey district one encounters a type of settler who has conducted his farming operations on the soundest possible lines, and, aided by the natural fertility of the soil, has excellent results to show for his labors [sic].

Amongst the well-established farmers and orchardists we find such men as Mr. Oscar Rath, one of the earliest settlers and a man who has made an outstanding success of mixed farming. Mr. Rath raises sheep and cattle and also grows a large quantity of fruit. Messrs. W. Shaw and Fred Bird are other prominent mixed farmers, while Mr. T. Talbot, well-known cattle breeder in other parts of the State, has solid interests in the district.

A recent arrival amongst the Harvey farming community has been Miss L. G. Hancock, noted Jersey cattle breeder with a long list of Royal Show victories to her credit. She has just acquired a property and is carrying on dairying and cattle raising.

In the timber country Mr. Paddy Harnett, “the king of Worsley,” is a well-known figure. He is also a big farmer with a huge dairying property at Roelands. Another popular man in the timber industry is Mr. Harry Smith, manager of the Mornington mills.

Well known men at Brunswick are Mr. Archie Burt, president of the agricultural society, and Mr. Frank George, a son of Mr. W. J. George, former Minister for Works. Mr.  George, junior, is a member of the Harvey Road Board.

In Harvey township itself one meets virile personalities in Messrs. J. Lowe (chairman) and Aubrey Smith (vice-chairman) of the road board. Mr. Lowe was born in Victoria, but has spent 39 years at Harvey, and in latter years his time has been fully taken up between running a very large business and guiding the destinies of the road board.

Mr. Aubrey Smith is a bachelor and a noted grower of oranges. His fine orchard is situated within close touch of the town and it produces something approaching 6000 cases a year. The splendid productive powers of his orange trees are exemplified by the fact that he picks 450 cases to the acre annually. Mr. W. R. Eckersley, 25 years secretary of the Harvey Road Board, is a well-liked citizen, and the same can be said of Messrs. L. Grieves and J. R. Thew, president and secretary, respectively, of the agricultural society.

Other well-known townsfolk are Mr. A. H. Jefferies (president of the trotting club), Mr. A. A. Lockhart (secretary of the club), Mr. Bernard Lofthouse and Mr. Bob Irvine, both officials of the R.S.L. sub-branch, and Mr. Robert Castenelli, who holds the electric lighting concession.