REFLECTING: Vic Horton is the last of his family to have lived on their Horton Rd property.
REFLECTING: Vic Horton is the last of his family to have lived on their Horton Rd property. Contributed

Recalling life on a family farm

THE recent death of an elder brother made Vic Horton realise he was the sole surviving member of the family which spent part of their life on the farm at Horton Rd, at Chatsworth.

"I thought that this was a small bit of the history of the Gympie region that I would like others to know about," Vic said.

A circuitous route involving cane farming near Childers, in the Horton district, then a few years at Kandanga saw the Horton family patriarch, Ted, relocate his family to Chatsworth in the early 1930s.

The family started dairying and built a herd of 120 jersey cows that was the second largest cream supplier to the Wide Bay Cooperative Factory in Gympie.

Vic said a herd that size needed a big family and he had seven siblings, though a six-unit milking machine installed in the late 1930s made life easier.

The Horton family moved around to different areas, but maintained an interest in cane and cows.

One of the moves resulted from a comment that cream was worth more than cane and a clean swap was made of the farm at Nikenbah for one at Kandanga.

As was often the practice; sons wishing to take up farming were helped on to a farm, and this resulted in family members growing small crops and dairying at Calico Creek and Neusa Vale.

The Calico Creek property was the basis for the story of a dam slipping downhill during a landslide, without losing any water.

The cane background meant some of the crop was grown for dairy feed.

Vic says his father always insisted that cane, while maybe not improving production in dry weather, kept the animals in good condition.

Horses were an essential part of any farming operation and both draught and saddle horses were bred and used.

Vic farmed in the Gympie area, spent some time working with the Bishop family at saleyards and auctions, and spent 25 years in the Air Force.

- Peter and Bevly Hughes