Forever at Holme in Ringarooma
By Daisy Baker
17 October, 2018
WHEN Ringarooma dairy farmer Edgar Holmes started working on the family farm, he used a pair of draught horses and a pair of bullocks, but things began to change when they bought their first tractor in the 1960s.
He has lived on the family farm for all of his 85 years, except for three months in 1952 when he was in national service abroad.
He says the advent of pickup balers meant what was once done with a pitchfork could be done from the seat of a tractor.
“With the invention of spades, I suppose, and cultivation, it’s changed. It’s magnificent to what it used to be,” he says.
Mr Holmes went to Scottsdale High School in 1945 but he laughs saying that when the time came that he could leave high school, he couldn’t leave quick enough.
“I always wanted to be a farmer,” he says smiling.
“I came home to the farm in 1947 and have been here ever since.
“I only wish that sometime in the past when I was younger that I had taken photos so that I could show people what the place used to look like.
“You wouldn’t recognise the place if I transported it back to what it was in 1955 – there were big trees everywhere.”
He says it’s not just the farm that has changed markedly over this time.
“It’s sad to see Ringarooma now, compared to what it used to be,” he says.
“We used to have a grocery shop, a butcher shop, a drapery, a garage and a hotel.”
Mr Holmes was the director of the butter factory for several years and he says when this and the timber mills closed in the 1950s, people had to seek employment in other towns.
The closure of Ringarooma’s bank also drove more people to Scottsdale on a regular basis, he says, and before long the grocery store in his hometown closed due to lack of support.
“Now that the hotel’s closed, there’s no meeting place for the older people of the town to meet up for a chat.”
Despite this, Mr Holmes loves the peace of mind and sense of community throughout the town.
“At the moment the school and the young people about the place do a wonderful job, and the school is a real credit to the place.”
Mr Holmes was a keen sportsman back in the day, playing football from the age of 16 right through to 43, and also played cricket and golf.
When asked what he’d like to see in Ringarooma in the future, he says he would like to see the town get another football team but is not hopeful of this happening.
These days Mr Holmes spends most of his time tending to a flourishing garden which he and his wife built up over the years, with veggie patches, trees and flowers.
“It’s been a wonderful life,” he says. “It’s been a magnificent area to live in.”