August 2011

A lovely early spring day saw forty two of our members meeting for our August activity at Dr Stephen Cole’s property, ‘Balla Balla’ on the Baxter Tooradin Road, Pearcedale. The Pearcedale countryside was looking its best, having come out of a wet winter. Daffodils were out in bloom waving in the breeze. To the south of the farmland and across the bay French Island could be seen in the distance.

Stephen runs a Red Poll cattle stud as well as his professional practice as a veterinary surgeon, specialising in animal dentistry. We were all enthralled when Stephen told us of his dental work at the Melbourne and Werribee Zoos. At the time of Stephen starting his veterinary studies he remembered that no more than one lecture was dedicated to dental work in animals. After becoming interested in the dental side of veterinary practice he found it necessary to pursue specific study in America.

On the property, the paddock rotation of the cattle every month has the heifers in good condition ready for breeding or sale. Stephen has carried out many improvements over the years, one being dividing the farm into smaller paddocks for these rotations to be effective.

Since his buying ‘Balla Balla’, reported to mean ‘muddy’, Stephen has also carried out research on the property and the homestead. Much of this information was gained from people driving up to the front door wishing to share their memories of days gone by. We all found this history most interesting, especially as it was illustrated by a picture presentation Stephen put together for us.

The homestead was first built in 1840 with extensions, including a separate building for the kitchen, in 1854 and 1875. All the buildings were joined together in 1920 giving the present day homestead. This is a delightful two storey home with old style character and charm. Women of all ages are welcome to join Women on Farms. The key criterion is an interest in farming and farming women, you do not have to be a farmer to participate.

Our next meeting, Tuesday 6th September, will be a visit to Chisholm Institute of TAFE, Cranbourne. For more details contact our secretary, Jenny Stephenson on 9700 0282 or visit our web site at www.womenonfarms.org for the 2011 monthly program.

For enquiries about this article, contact: Mary Hughes, Ph. 03 5628 4195.