1st Edition

Sustainable Family Farming and Yeoman Ideals 1860 to 2000 in North-West Tasmania

By Rena R. Henderson Copyright 2022
    284 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Within the frame of family farming, this book offers a longitudinal study of the Castra district in North-West Tasmania from first European settlement to the end of the twentieth century. It draws upon historical sources for yeomanry characteristics from Britain, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australian mainland colonies to show how these characteristics were persistently supportive of family farming.

    Surveying farming communities over several generations, this book explores a range of topics including colonial surveying practices, settler families’ motivation, attributes and demographics, the role of Methodism, the ways children were inculcated into yeoman farming enterprises, the role of women as companionate wives and the political participation of farmers in the public sphere. The book also offers a new perspective of three commonly held myths of settlement failure: the settlement of retired Anglo-Indian military and civil officers in the 1870s, the settlement of soldiers on small farms after the Great War and the claims that the ideal of yeoman family farming was anachronistic to capitalist commodity production. The book draws from a wide selection of previously underused primary source materials, including oral histories from current and past residents, to provide a comprehensive overview of an important aspect of rural Australian history.

    The book is a valuable contribution to Australian historiography, and will be a useful resource for students and scholars of rural history, social history, environmental history, colonialism and sustainable agriculture.

    List of Figures



    1: The Castra Association 1864 to 1873: "A Home in the Colonies"

    2: Castra Land and Anglo-Indian Ownership

    3: Development of Castra Farms and Institutions 1880 – 1910

    4: Closer Settlement in Castra

    5: Soldier Settlement in Tasmania and Castra

    6: Succession and Inheritance in Castra Families, 1900-2000

    7: Childhood and Youth in Castra

    8: Women Play their Part – Tradition and Change

    9: Men and their Land – Doing What Was Best: 1880-1980



    Bibliography with Abbreviations


    Dr Rena R. Henderson is Adjunct Researcher of rural and social history at the University of Tasmania. After various roles in Tasmanian and national community organisations, she returned to academic study drawn by the unique history of the rural area where she lives.