Introduction to Eaglerise Farm
Eaglerise Farm is on Wiradjuri land. We acknowledge that the current concept of owning land is a false construct and that we are simply the current inhabitants, responsible for caring for and maintaining this particular place. We appreciate the actions of all the previous land managers and we are open to constructive comment and direction. We acknowledge that the sovereignty of the First Nations People of the continent now known as Australia was never ceded by treaty nor in any other way.
We acknowledge these traditional, ecological custodians of this land and we pay respect to their culture and kinship. I welcome you all – ngadhu nginyalgir gawaymbanhadhu.
I was fencing out a revegetation area, up the gully, one day. It was steep country and hot. I stopped for a breather and looked across the gully. There, about 30m away was an echidna fossicking around some old logs and rocks, looking for a feed. I thought to myself, “Do I own that echidna?”, of course not! Then I pondered whether I owned the ants the echidna was harvesting, or the rock around where it was walking. I concluded that I owned nothing. It was a revelation and has influenced my property management and design even more, ever since. We are not owners. We are simply elements within the ecosystem that we inhabit. That is to say, we are higher order predators and, as such, our ecological niche includes the responsibility and obligation to maintain and regenerate the system around us.
Eaglerise Farm is a 100ha, multi-enterprise farm, growing food for our local community. It is on rising country with an increase in elevation of 120m from the lowest point at the front gate, to the highest (520m). The farm generally has a south facing hillside with a covering of poor gneiss soils. Our hills had 5mm to 50mm of topsoil with the slopes having up to 100mm of topsoil when we took over the farm. Much of the early topsoil eroded downhill to our neighbours in the rabbit plagues of the 1940s.
We can be found on Google maps by searching “Eaglerise Farm”. The farm is 35km north of Albury, NSW, which is on the Murray River, in a temperate Mediterranean climate with yearly temperatures varying from 45oC to -8oC. Vegetation types vary from native grassland to a “Box/Gum community”.
Our History, our present and our friends.
Eaglerise Farm was an early sub-division of a typical Australian merino sheep property. The pastures had been degenerated and were in poor condition. The farm was purchased in 2000 as a single paddock with no improvements.
It now has:
- over 40 paddocks, with a central lane way
- 20ha (i.e. 20% of the farm) is revegetated area for natural ecosystems and wildlife linkages
- an established market garden with cut flowers
- a grassy/woodland garden with fruit trees interplanted with perennial food plants
- a vineyard
- a herd of Dexter beef cattle
- a flock of Dorper sheep
- seasonal Berkshire pigs
- a pastured poultry enterprise
- wood lot
- olive grove
After several decades of industrial agriculture, the surviving native fauna consists of:
- approximately 50 native bird species (including our namesake, Wedgetail Eagle),
- reptiles – Red-Belly Black Snake, Eastern Brown Snake, Legless Lizard, Blue-tongue Lizard, a variety of skinks, goannas
- an assortment of frogs and other aquatic fauna
- Yellow Footed Antechinus
- several Echidnas
- two Wombats
- occasional itinerant Grey Kangaroos
- and the introduced fauna consists mainly of rabbits and foxes, with starlings in the air..
- apiary – Bee hives
- 7 dams
- and, is completely off the power grid. The house is a straw bale construction incorporating mud bricks internally for thermal mass.
Where to from here and something to consider.
The vision for Eaglerise Farm and the philosophy supporting and directing the achievement of that vision consists of the innate truth and words of the Eaglerise Farm management team, comprising of Allysa Leverton and Gerard Lawry. It does not represent a recipe book for readers to follow rather, a cookbook of photos. It attempts to outline the general pattern of our individual, agroecological, management style and then incorporates farm design details as examples. This is a complex discussion that is made simplistic when the reader grasps the pattern and applies it to their detail. All ecosystems are different and cannot be managed by generic rules.
This document is offered as “we” information not “you” information. It describes how and why WE think and interact with our ecosystem. It is not about telling you how YOU should act in your specific context and ecosystem.
We offer these interpretations so that you can have a clear picture of what we are sharing and why. Again, these are what we have learned in our context and we do not imply they are a one size fits all. Some methods will work and others will not. We ask that you consider them all and if you need to clarify anything, feel to contact us.