Original publication

First published 6 December, 1990

Reprinted January 1991, August 1992

National Library of Australia card number and ISBN

ISBN 0949457396

This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or revIew, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries should be addressed to the publisher.

All rights reserved

Copyright © B. A. Farquhar

Published by Regal Publications
24 Wellington Street, Launceston, Tasmania
Telephone (003) 31 4222
Facsimile: (003) 31 4904


I dedicate this book to Peg, my family and my loyal staff, past and present, who helped to make all things possible.


It gives me much pleasure to say a few words about Bert Farquhar.

It is not appropriate for me to say anything specifically about his farming activities; you will be absorbed in reading about his life in this book. Rather, I would like to salute a person who has spent a lifetime on the land and from small beginnings is now the owner and operator of an immense rural holding.

At the time he purchased Rushy Lagoon it was the largest amount paid for any single rural property in Australia. What makes it quite remarkable is that he embarked on this project at an age when most people are retired.

But you must realise that Bert does not compromise with any aspect of life, be it his plans for the development of his properties, his irrigation schemes, his working with Nature to achieve his productiv- ity goals or his capacity to listen to scientists and then apply their findings in a practical way.

I salute you Bert as an outstanding Australian.

John Allwnght, AO
President, National Farmers Federation


Soil is the life-blood of a nation.

It is our privilege, while we occupy the land, to nurture it for the benefit of man and beast. We must try to keep the land, air and water healthy and clean for future generations. There is no greater challenge today for, while doing this, we still have to produce crops, pastures and animals economically for food and clothing.

To keep our soil healthy and productive, we must ensure that the soil exists and thrives. We must replant trees to help the three great natural elements - land, water and air - to function, as they have done for past centuries. This also allows the animals, birds and fish to thrive and multiply.

In short, for our own immediate good and the future of mankind, we must learn to work with Nature, not against it.

The history books tell us that 'if the greatest city in the world is destroyed by fire, flood or earthquake, as long as the land remains fertile the city can be rebuilt. But if the land becomes barren the city will wither and die.' This still applies today.

There is no greater or more satisfying profession than working and living with the natural elements in the production of food, raw materials for clothing, housing and paper.

An old Arab proverb says...

A man his duty has well done Who digs a well, begets a son Or plants a tree.


This book deals with activities during the years from 1924, when I was six years old, through to when at seventeen I started farming with £25 ($50) to the present time 1990.

Even now I am still receiving challenges. Some are accepted; others are refused through lack of available time.

I have recently been given, in my opinion, a very important responsibility, to chair and lead the Year of Landcare for Tasmania. This Federal/All States Government initiative, that 1990 will be the 'Year of Landcare' with the period 1990- 1999 being declared the 'Decade of Landcare' in Australia, is a wonderfully progressive move.

We have a great country, and people from all walks of life now realise the urgent necessity of the 'Landcare Concept'. This book, 'Bert's Story', highlights many aspects of this concept. Readers' ideas will vary as to which sections are most interesting.

Primary producers will find absorbing, the detailed development of Wyambi, soil life, stock, trees and water whereas others may skip through this section and be more interested in financing, other activities and general progress.

In response to many requests I have tried to set out in detail the commercial value of water usage, soil life, trees, animal health etcetera. Therefore the repetitive cross references to the above items throughout this book are deliberate.

If fifty years of practical experiences with these topics were put in a single chapter, it could not be absorbed and it would not be a readable book.

Apparently many books on the above subjects are available in book shops, but according to my enthusiastic advocates, none written by anyone who has been financially successful in putting these philosophies into practice are on sale!

Farming conditions vary between states and countries. How- ever, the principles of business and farming are the same world wide.

A primary producer only needs to benefit from an odd item in this book and it could be worth hundreds of dollars per month to that person for the rest of his or her working life. This is apart from doing something environmentally sound, aesthetically pleasing and satis- factory.

This book would probably never have been started had it not been for the help and enthusiasm of my secretary Marg, and the many hours of editing by my wife Peg; but after the purchase of Rushy Lagoon, the book came to a temporary standstill. However, when major projects were completed we again gave it our attention.

Many have given help, such as Ross Buckley, Peter Sims, Bill Goodman and Lionel Miller. However, if it had not been for Bev Jennings' talented, meticulous work in editing and sorting out the literature, it would not have been such a readable and interesting book.

It has been a combined exercise by many very enthusiastic and capable people.

Bert Farquhar

Printing history

Third Printing - August 1992

The first two printings were very well received, with many wonderful letters and acknowledgements from people in all walks of life within Australia and overseas.

These included the Governor of Tasmania, the Premier, the Prime Minister and President George Bush.