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Schools for Farmers (c.1950)


Produced by the NSW Department of Agriculture, this short informational film promotes the Hawkesbury College farmer school to NSW farmers. Schools for Farmers outlines the practical courses on offer, including vehicle maintenance and animal husbandry, as well as the facilities and services available to the farmers including accommodation, meals, a library and gymnasium.

Curator’s notes

School for Farmers was made between 1950 and 1960. The film shows women participating in the farm schools but states that priority is given to men to attend certain courses. Despite the presence of overseas visitors at the college, the broadly mono-cultural demographic of farmers in the film reflects Australia during the era of the white Australia policy. This policy supported the maintenance of a white Australia until the 1960s.

This film documents a government program aimed at sharing knowledge about new products and technologies. It is designed to support the agricultural sector, which has always been important to the Australian economy. The family farm, handed down from generation to generation, began to be superseded during the 1950s and ’60s as changes in farming methods made larger farms more economically viable. The film treats farming as a business for which farmers must be equipped with the latest knowledge and technology.

To reach its target farming audience, this short film would likely have been lent out to screen at farmers’ groups, such as the Junior Farmers’ Clubs mentioned by the narration, and at Country Women’s Association meetings. Community groups like Rotary and Lions clubs in rural and regional centres might also have screened it.

See Life on a Sheep Farm (1965) for a look at a farming family in the mid-1960s and Snowy Hydro – Conquest of the Rivers (1957) for another example of a sponsored film made during the 1950s.