FIELD OF DREAMS: A farmer tends to an Arrowroot crop in Coolabunia, near Kingaroy, in the 1930s.
FIELD OF DREAMS: A farmer tends to an Arrowroot crop in Coolabunia, near Kingaroy, in the 1930s. Queensland State Archives

LOOKING BACK: Where our agricultural pursuits started

AGRICULTURE will always be a proud part of the South Burnett, with pig-raising and peanut growing an iconic part of the industry.

A special 1935 edition of The Kingaroy Guardian and Taabinga Times outlined the growth of the various agricultural industries in the South Burnett in the early 20th Century.

Back in the 1930s, the dairy industry had brought the 'greatest renown to the district.'

The first recognition of dairying as a future industry was in 1903 when Mr FC Petersen built a cart in which he offered to convey cream to Wondai.

When the railway opened, Mr Petersen was running a four-horse double-decker waggon and averaging at 60 cans of cream per load.

After years of sending cream to the Maryborough Association factory, South Burnett dairymen opened up the Kingaroy Butter Factory in 1907.

The Wondai factory was then opened in 1931 and another in Proston in 1934.

The paper reported: "It is unnecessary for us to testify to the high quality of Kingaroy butter as reflected in trophies won by Kingaroy factory, or to refer to the prize dairy herds which furnish the annual show with its greatest attraction."

At some point, Kingaroy butter won every major State, Commonwealth and Empire award.

Pig-raising was also an integral part of South Burnett agriculture, with the primary objective of the bacon trade.

The Berkshire-Tamworth cross breed of pig was the most popular breed and South Burnett pigs also competed well in agricultural shows.

All major bacon companies operated in the South Burnett district, and on an average, 1500 to 1600 pigs were trucked from Kingaroy every month.

Grazing was another important aspect of the industry, with the climatic conditions and natural grasses ideal for stock breeding and fattening.

Sales indicated herefords were the most popular and many graziers invested in private wells, bores and dams.

Graziers aimed to cater for the chilled beef trade, with a beast sold at an age ranging from three to four years was considered in good prime condition.

In the mid-1930s, the peanut crops was the most recent pursuit of South Burnett farmers.

In 1935, the quality of Kingaroy peanuts were admitted to be second to none in the world, with the market solely confined to Australian consumption.

Mr BH Johnson and the Young Brothers were two of the first names associated with the industry, dating back to around 1910.

Although supply did not meet the demand for the nuts, they were immediately recognised as high quality.

The group of Memerambi, Crawford and Wooroolin peanut growers petitioned for the Agricultural minister to declare a Queensland pool for the marketing of peanuts.

This moved onto representations in the High Court which almost dealt the peanut industry a death blow.

The huge peanut silos, with a total storage of 4000 tonnes were erected during the 1928-29 season in time to accommodate crops.

The 1935 season saw 512 growers plant 9500 acres, with an anticipated crop of 3500 tonnes, which is expected to realise 123000 pounds ($224,278).

The other thriving agricultural pursuit in the South Burnett was maize.

The paper reported it was an indisputable fact that maize-growing was the first agricultural pursuit in the South Burnett.

It was first attempted in Coolabunia around 1900, before many pioneers were putting maize in as soon as the land was cleared and prepared.

The maize industry grew and peaked in production in 1924 when 843,148 bushels from more than 14,000 acres.

The paper reported the quality of the local maize was equal to the best grown in Australia.

Read more stories about looking back at history in the South Burnett here

Do you have a piece of history you would like to share for our 'looking back series?' Email through details to jessica.mcgrath@southburnetttimes.com.au

 
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