Tindarra in Black and White

Morning Sun-portrait

Tindarra was the farm I grew up on in New South Wales, just west of Muswellbrook. When I explain to people in the city, and to many outside Australia, that 500 acres is not enough to make a living on, they are often incredulous; but the soil was poor and the area had its share of drought and it was just enough to keep about 80 beef cattle. My parents chose the name Tindarra because it was an Aboriginal word meaning place of shallow water: the creek never went dry, but it barely flowed outside flood or heavy rain.

When we moved there thirty years ago it rained enough for farmers to plant wheat and oats and milo and lucerne as rotational cash crops or for hay. Wheat was my favourite, sprouting out of the Autumn plough ruts to grow through the Winter and ripen in Spring.

Everyone hoped for the rain to stay away in the weeks before the harvest to keep the kernels hard and stop them from sprouting in storage, and then for a big storm straight after so there would be fresh grass for their stock over summer. We never had crops, but some seeds would get caught in the wind and every year you could find one or two wheat stalks growing near the house.

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