Land Clearing on Wagga Experiment Farm

These photographs are part of a collection recently donated to CSU Regional Archives by Mr Bruce Mathew.  WF Mathew owned “Hill View”, a farm located on the Coolamon Road, which found itself adjoining the new Wagga Experiment Farm orchard and vineyard in the early 1890s.

“The site of the Farm, on Crown land in the Parish of North Wagga, including part of the North Wagga Common… was dedicated in October 1892.  The Farm covered 2000 acres.  It occupied a virgin site.  There were no buildings, no fences, no water.  The most prominent features of the landscape were the Two Sisters hills.  The boundary on the southern side continued in a line from what is today the eastern access to the winery, across the hill to the Pine Gully Road.  The eastern boundary was the travelling stock reserve on what is now the Coolamon Road.  The land was no better than, if as good as, the majority of neighbouring districts, and in the days of selection had been passed over.”

- Sutherland, June (1996) “From Farm Boys to PhDs: Agricultural Education at Wagga Wagga, 1896-1996” Charles Sturt University

John Coleman was appointed as the first (and only) Superintendent of the Wagga Experiment Farm in January 1892.  He was charged with getting the land ready for use as a new experiment farms and farm school, which would work in conjunction with the brand new Hawkesbury Agricultural College.  His wife and daughter came with him to Wagga, making their home in the nearby Estella homestead. The Colemans left Wagga in October 1895 to start up the Bathurst Experiment Farm. George Valder took over as the first Manager of the Wagga Experiment Farm and it was under his watch that the first students arrived in 1896.

Mr John Coleman, Superintendent of the Wagga Experiment Farm and his workmen, c.1894 [from the Mathew Collection].

Mr John Coleman, Superintendent of the Wagga Experiment Farm and his workmen, c.1894 [from the Mathew Collection, RW3082].

Land clearing on the Wagga Experiment Farm, c.1894 [from the Mathew Collection].

Land clearing on the Wagga Experiment Farm, c.1894 [from the Mathew Collection, RW3082].

Land being ploughed on the site of the future orchards and vineyard of the Wagga Experiment Farm, after the trees have been cleared.  The buildings visible at the bottom of the hill belong to "Hillgrove", the Mathew farm. [from the Mathew Collection]

Land being ploughed on the site of the future orchards and vineyard of the Wagga Experiment Farm after the trees have been cleared. The buildings visible at the centre of the image belong to “Hill View”, the Mathew farm [from the Mathew Collection, RW3082].

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2 thoughts on “Land Clearing on Wagga Experiment Farm

    • I was quite surprised to read that little detail in June Sutherland’s book! I’m now wondering whether John Coleman was involved in setting up any other Experiment Farms or if it was just those two. And I’d love to find out if he is remembered somewhere on either campus in the form of a road or a building or something, like the early managers and scientists are at Wagga (Valder, Cobb, McKeown, Farrer, Darnell Smith, etc.).

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