Not long after settling in Adelaide, Mary Penfold wrote these three simple but words in her day book. That brief entry could not foretell the importance of the contribution she was to make over the next 40 odd years to Australia’s young wine industry. Mary’s management of the Magill Estate and her skills in viticulture and blending led ultimately to the development of Penfolds Wines, one of Australia’s greatest wineries.
Edith Pearn was a true farming pioneer who made an unusual contribution to Australia’s harvest history. For over 30 years she was a highly successful agricultural contractor at a time when such activity was dominated by men.
Lu Moo, better known as Granny Lum Loy and also known as Lee Toy Kim, had an unlikely, atypical and very long active life. Born in Taishan (Toishan or Hoisan) in southern coastal China in the mid 1880s, she was brought to the Northern Territory in 1894 as an adopted daughter of a family with a business in Darwin’s Chinatown. From 1918, with a short absence due to evacuation during World War 2, she managed a market garden, mango orchard and poultry business, selling her produce locally and shipping mangos to Western Australia.
Thousands of young women joined the Women’s Auxiliary National Service (WANS), more commonly known as the Women’s Land Army on the home front during World War 2. They kept farms and food production going and helped to feed both the civilian population and service personnel.
Yvonne Aitken made major contributions to the science of plant breeding. Her goal, along with others in the field, was to produce a greater range of consumable crops for people and animals. She contributed to the search for better crop and pasture species for Australia by increasing our understanding of genetic factors within a species that control reproductive development in different seasons and climates.
Check out WHM 2010 resources. They include books, journal articles and websites.
The history of food farming in Australia is much more than the record of agricultural production. When the focus is on women, the story starts with Indigenous food harvesting and includes the pioneering cultivation of familiar crops in unfamiliar soil by colonial women.