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Agriculture & Society

In the early 1900s, to advance ‘modern' farming, government gave incentives to people who helped eradicate pests and weeds – there were bizarre outcomes. Police stations and district council offices, for example, became drop-off points for sparrows' heads and eggs. People were paid sixpence [5 cents] per dozen heads and two shillings and sixpence [25 cents] per 100 eggs. Some local lads soon learnt where to find the stores of eggs and heads and made a ring route from there to the collecting offices. One bright spark received a prize at the 1905 Willunga Show for collecting 5000 sparrows' eggs!

Milking, c. 1903
Historical Consultants Pty Ltd

From the 1890s farming became an industry of cooperation. Agricultural bureaux were formed, as were cooperative dairy factories. New methods of cultivation, manuring and crop rotation were adopted and wheat, wool and dairy products found markets around the globe. The region was famed for its hay and livestock. Yet new sidelines – orchards, almond groves, beekeeping, wattle cultivation – all added to profit. The development of local livestock markets and dairy factories added to the growth. The fields of Morphett Vale or Reynella or Willunga or Aldinga were among the best examples of ‘modern' farming.

The harvest and train, c. 1920
National Trust Willunga