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115 years and still going

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

For 115 years, a Whittlesea farm has been passed down to generations – including owners Mary and Mervyn Williamson who have operated the farm since 1959. 

In November 2023 the owners received an Australian Century Farm Award after Ms Williamson submitted the farm’s history to the Australian Century Farm and Station Awards, recognising the farm’s significance since her grandfather bought the property in 1909.

Ms Williamson’s grandfather Aaron Cockroft purchased the property for the sum of £7.30 shillings per acre, leasing the farm to tenants who worked breeding pigs, milking cows, and rearing calves. 

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The land was inherited by his son George and his wife Isabella, who worked the farm for 29 years before retiring to Humevale, Victoria. 

Ms Williamson said she often reminisced on great memories about the farm when she was away in Preston. 

“I used to come home on holidays, and I used to like riding ponies,” she said.

“I helped my parents with the farm … with milking cows.

“Everybody sort of spent their life on the farm … you make progress all the time or you’re not going to get anywhere if you can’t attempt progress.”

Ms Williamson married her husband, the farm-boy-next-door, in March 1959 and together took over the farm when they were provided with the opportunity.

In September 1980, the married couple purchased the adjoining property of 150 acres. 

Over time, the owners made it their mission to work the farm, selling whole milk to various dairies, breeding replacement stock, renovating pastures, and making improvements.

It was always farm work for Ms Williamson and her husband.

“It was always the farm work, we had a long association with Whittlesea Agricultural Society, and I’ve done lots of voluntary work around different things,” Ms Williamson said.

Growing old together, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Ms and Mr Williamson are grateful to have been able to work for over 60 years.

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