The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

130 years of farming in Nottingham Road celebrated

The Nottingham Road Land Owner’s Association celebrates a milestone 130 years of existence this year. Marking the auspicious occasion with a special AGM last week, members of the local farming community and surrounding areas gathered to pay homage to the heritage of the farmer’s association, that was founded in 1887.

Speaking at the AGM, Bobby Hoole, a Kwanalu board member, paid tribute to the local community for their unwavering support of the association: “The fundamental reason for the longevity of the association is a compliment to the effort and sacrifices the local community has made by working together and supporting one another over the years.”
Formerly known as the Nottingham Road Farmer’s Association, the association originally offered local farmers representation on agricultural matters and organised the monthly stock sale but has since adopted a broader approach and acts as the mouthpiece and lobbying body representing community interests for all local land owners.

It is stories about the monthly stock sale – the highlight of the local social calendar – that seemed to stir up the fondest memories amongst the members, old and young. Mrs Pi Foss, the granddaughter of David Smythe, one of the association’s founding members, vividly remembers the excitement of a stock sale as a child when they would eagerly rush out of the schoolyard and into the neighbouring stockyard to revel in the frenetic atmosphere and be treated to a glass of orange juice and a sandwich before being taken home.

Pat Coleby, a retired farmer and member of 43 years, shared a personal story about the centenary celebration of the farmer’s association. On this memorable day in 1987, he recalls walking 16 oxen to the association’s grounds – a five hour journey just to get there from his farm. The journey home after the celebrations was the remarkable part – taking just two hours to get back to the farm following exactly the same route! Bemused by the sudden spring in his oxens’ step compared to their usual saunter, it wasn’t until it started to rain not long after reaching home that Mr Coleby put two and two together – the rains set in and went on to result in the floods of 1987!

JS Mennie shared a humorous account of what has now become urban legend, no-doubt passed down from generation to generation, about a couple of mischievous farmers who, when the circus came to town, phoned up the dip inspector telling him he needed to dip the elephant!

It is these fond memories of the association that is at the heart of what community spirit means for all farmers. The Nottingham Road Land Owner’s Association is a shining example of why farmer’s associations were formed in the first place and why they still thrive today. Congratulations from all of us at Kwanalu.

Members of the Nottingham Road Land Owner’s Association at the 130th anniversary celebration. L-R: Chris Meloney, JS Mennie, Clive Foss (Chairperson), Peter Greene and Owen Edwardes.