If it has a name, it has a story.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Around the farm

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A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about mustering & droving sheep home along the road in preparation for shearing. In the blog I referred to a paddock we call Mooreheads and a hill we call O’Dwyers. The other day I was talking to someone who had recently read the blog and they asked me “who are the Mooreheads and the O’Dwyers?” A perfectly reasonable question. To answer it requires some further explanation, because in thinking about it, everything around here has a name because it also has a story.

Lets start with our farm. Divided into paddocks, as most farms are, each one has a name.

Mooreheads got its name from the fact that before it was owned by the Harrington’s, the Moorehead family lived there. It doesn’t matter that the Mooreheads lived there so long ago that the only remnant of their house that is left is a few stones & broken bricks under a big gumtree up the back, it’s still Mooreheads. Charlie’s House, Charlie’s Corner (the long ago site of the Ellesmere Cricket Ground) and Charlie’s Flat paddocks are named after Tim’s much loved cousin Charlie Harrington & his family. Briany’s Flat, Briany’s House and Briany’s Front paddocks are named after the Brian Harrington family, who built the first brick house in the district back in their day. That’s just a few for starters.

But not all the paddocks are named after previous residents.

Adelaide Elms Front and Adelaide Elms Flat are named for the thick row of elm suckers that grow along the roadside for nearly the full width of the paddock. The Home Flat is the big river flat below the house. The Racecourse paddock was once the site of the Fosterville Racecourse. The Queen paddock once had a hall down the back of it where the annual Queen of the Harvest Ball was held. The Bush Paddock is a combination of open grazing and bush, the Triangle paddock is a triangle, the Grain Bin paddock has an old grain bin in it sitting under a tree, the Narrow paddock is narrow and the 50 Acres paddock …. well, that should be obvious!

The names we use for our paddocks are also known by our local farming friends, just as we know many of their paddock names. Phone calls for assistance with fixing a machine or to catch up with someone contain directions using paddock names – “he’s down at Charlie’s” or “they’re working in the Windmill paddock” – no map or GPS reference required.

I think it is wonderful that all the paddocks have a name. In a way it is keeping the history of our place and our area alive. References to families who lived in the district long ago, who danced at the Harvest Ball or attended the races is honouring the past, and re-telling the stories behind the names reminds us of the much loved family members of previous generations of Harrington’s.