Generations farm the same land

FAMILY TRADITION: Norm and his son Trevor Wren are the second and third generations to have farmed the same block of land.
FAMILY TRADITION: Norm and his son Trevor Wren are the second and third generations to have farmed the same block of land. Linden Morris

LIFE on the land has not always been the same but some of the families that farm it have; passing the precious resource from one generation to the next.

Still working the same block of land at Severnlea since the early 1900s is the Wren family.

First to settle on the land circa 1904 was fresh-faced 18-year-old drover Walter Wren.

One of Walter's eight sons Norm said his father was a pioneer in the district.

"He was the first to start farming at Severnlea," Norm said.

"He planted stone fruit, grew vegetables and ran 50-60 head of cattle as well.

"It was to make use of as much of the country as possible because he had just over 300 acres when he started out and was only growing on a small portion of it.

"Now we have about 250 acres."

Walter said he fell into farm work from a young age.

"I was the second youngest and when all my older brothers went to war I left school at 14 years old to help dad out on the farm.

"I helped out with things like cultivating, general orchard work and picking, and it was just me and Dad - even when my brothers came home from war we didn't have enough work for them so they had to find work elsewhere.

"Dad was about 84 years old when he passed away and that is when I took over."

Norm's son Trevor said his dad continued the family farm along much the same line but did make changes.

"Dad was the first one in the area to grow capsicums," Trevor said.

"I came home in 1976 after working away and the two of us began working together like Dad did with Walter.

"It was good because I had a lot to learn when I first started - I knew nothing about farming.

"We were also one of the first in the area to try plastic mulch but because we didn't have a machine to do it for us we would plant and then cut a hole in the plastic.

"But it worked out well because when Dad was ready to retire I was ready with a few new ideas of my own."

Norm said he knew the farm would be in safe hands with Trevor.

"I was 65 when I retired in 1988 and moved to town," Norm said.

"Whenever I would try and put my two bobs worth in Dad would say when he gives the farm over I can step in and not before," Trevor joked.

"Now my younger brother Chris and I run the farm together."

Trevor said he and Chris were put through their paces as they tried several different ventures on the farm.

"We had table grapes at one point but then the prices weren't there," he said.

"Then we went into apples and put hail net over them but we couldn't get enough money for them either.

"Now we are back to capsicums and grow broccolini on contract.

"We also run about 85 head of cattle here at the moment.

"When we were in drought we weren't able to get enough water for the crops on this property so we leased property and then bought another one near Quart Pot Creek which is were will still grow the capsicums now."

As for the fourth generation, Trevor said the succession of the farm was in planning.

"We have people that want to do it which is good, we are not sure what the future will hold just yet," he said.

Norm and Trevor both agreed there was something unique about having such a connection to their land.

"It's special," Trevor said.

"We know a lot of the history of the land and wouldn't want that sort of thing to change."

"I would love to see the land continue in the family," Norm added.

Topics:  family business