SIXTY years ago the site of the Nowra Golf Course was a dairy farm.
It was owned by the Daley family, and the two sons who farmed that beautiful area, Colin and Mert revisited the location on Wednesday.
Col lives locally with his wife Joyce in North Nowra. Mert and his wife Coral live in Picton and, while they have been back to the area to visit, have never really been back to the family farm where they were both born.
The brothers, who married the Anderson sisters from Back Forest, met up on the golf course to relive some old times.
“It’s certainly a bit different now to what it was back then,” said 82-year-old Mert.
“It is nearly 60 years since we sold the farm and I moved away.
“A lot of the land has gone especially towards the river, where the car park is now.
“Over the years the river has just taken it away.”
“The current road into the golf course was also in a different location,” said 83-year-old Col.
“We came down through the cutting but the road was more along the top of the ridge back then,” he said.
The property was purchased by Thomas Daley Senior, the men’s grandfather, with his brother Pat farming it until it was taken over by their father Thomas in the 1920s.
Back then the farm included land from the river’s edge right up to and above the escarpment which is now North Nowra.
It covered more than 48 hectares (120 acres), with about 24 hectares (60 acres) being extremely fertile country.
“We used right up to the escarpment,” Col said.
“A lot of the land had been cleared by our father.
“It had been bush and over the years we turned it into a farm.”
“We used to find stumps everywhere when we were ploughing,” Col said.
“Funny now they have planted trees back into the golf course, dad would laugh about that.”
The family house was located where the clubhouse is today.
“We also had a bails, stalls, a hay shed, barn and silo,” Col said.
“We milked between 20 to 25 head by hand before eventually getting some milking machines.
“It was very fertile land and we often had good crops.”
The family grew saccaline (similar to sorghum), corn, oats as well as crops of peas and beans.
“It was also a good lucerne pasture area,” Mert said
“We reared a lot of calves through winter and we made money off them,” Col said.
“Back then you had things likes chooks and pigs and you’d either fatten them up and sell them or eat them yourself.”
Milk was transported to the Bomaderry factory by horse and cart, or it had to go up and over the Shoalhaven bridge to the butter factory on the other side of the river.
“A lot of milk used to also come down the river on boats,” Mert said.
“Everything was moved by horse and cart back then, we didn’t get our first tractor or truck until about 1947.”
Living on the river, over the years they witnessed first hand plenty of floods.
“Our house was on the top of the rise and if the water came in the front of the house it would be lapping at the bottom of the Shoalhaven Bridge,” Mert said.
“We’ve seen that and I remember dad tying a boat to the front fence one time, floods were pretty regular back then,” Col said.
Come Christmas the Greys Beach area was a hive of activity.
“We would have 100 people camping there for Christmas.
“They would all come down from Sydney and stay,” Col said.
“It was two shillings for the first night and then a shilling a night for the next three or five shillings for the week.
“It was a magical time, especially around new year, they would put a big truck in the middle and hold concerts.”