A Howard Story

My late father, John (known to everybody as Jack) Murden, grew up on the family farm near the village of Red Range, about 30 miles East of Glen Innes, NSW. Dad left school at age 14, and got himself a job on a nearby Station called Herbert Park.

One of Dad's jobs on the Station was to keep the blackberries under control. To do this he was given the steel wheeled DH22 (no problem with flats) from the garden section and drove to the blackberry bushes. He put the Hoe into gear and backed into the bushes, then drove forward again to line up the next cut and into them again, backwards. This was done until the bushes were flattened, then done again from the opposite direction until the berries were chopped into small pieces. Dad reckoned he could spend days doing this and the bushes would be back again next year. Although, environmentally friendly, compared to sprays, this was not as effective.

Another job for the Howard was threshing. The Station still had a lot of horses at this time (late 1930's) and much feed had to be stored for the bitter winters in the Highlands, all of which was grown at Herbert Park. One of the crops used to feed the neddys was Poona Peas. These are a large pea or bean about the size of a larger broad bean, and grow to about 3ft high. The plants were cut at the end of summer and loaded onto wagons to be taken to the shed where a ground drive header had been modified to belt drive and the comb had been removed. The Hoe was taken off the Howard and the belt pulley attachment fitted. The belt ran to the header and the peas fed in with a hay fork. The peas being bagged and ready to be stored. These were commonly known as Horse Beans.

Dad was not old enough to join up when War started, so had to stay on the farm and show the Land Army girls what to do. Well, someone had to do it!