Ron and Doreen Briggs
Everton Upper (near Wangaratta), Victoria
President of the North-east Victorian Cattleman's association, Ron managed to get the original run on the Bogong High Plains in 1956.
In 2005 he lost the grazing licence when cattle were banned from the Alpine National Park. Active in his 70s and working over 400 acres near Wangaratta, he feels devastated by the loss of what he sees as his cultural heritage.
So much of today's farming practice is heavily dependent on efficiency and economics determining how you work your property.
Ron sees decision making processes within government as flawed and detrimental to the continuity of a healthy agricultural industry. Ron has been a long standing Landcare member and has planted many trees on his property, managing the land in an environmentally sensitive way.
Ron feels quite bitter about the management of the parks being taken away from the Forestry Commission over 20 years ago and the responsibility being given to Parks Victoria. He feels that in not allowing fuel reduction burning and grazing in the north–east over the years made the 2003 fires much worse than they should have been.
While running and managing cattle on his own property, he has also worked destroying rabbit habitat on neighbouring properties for the local Landcare group.
An accomplished horseman, Ron still looks after and uses horses on his property. He and his wife Doreen have many grandchildren who live locally, as their own children have chosen to stay in the north-east of Victoria. The most galling thought that Ron has is that he sees no future in farming for any of his children or grandchildren.
Audio and transcript
Listen to Ron's story (MP3 file 726kb)
Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds
My father was just working for the forestry, and I went to school, then I went to Melbourne working for a couple of years. But then my father got on to this bush block. So I bought that and I came back and worked at Brighton and we used to get the original run on the Bogong High Plains and starting taking cattle up there, in 1958 I suppose.
The government changes the rules. Everytime you go to do a subdivision, now it's a 100 acres, you can't sell it.
They've taken away our water right, our right to store water on our farms. You've got to have water but the government won't build dams just to supply Melbourne so they've just robbed it from the north-east farmers.
They make it a National Park and then they extend the boundaries of the National Park and that brings it right down to your fence. It's a double whammy because they take away your right to graze, but then they, all the pest animals, just build up and they just hop into your place as well.
Well there's no future as far as ... I'll put it this way, if you won Tattslotto and put it back into the farm you would only be squandering the money.
Below you can view a slideshow of the Briggs family and their property.
Image Gallery Page Navigation
Page 2 of 2
Photo: Stephen Routledge
Photo: Stephen Routledge