Francis Henry William Thomas Winifred Brownrigg Peter Welsh Thomson Margaret Jean Caldow /Hodsdon Frederick Edward Senior James Roger Francis Wyman Clark Richard Robertson Patricia Mae Mulligan Joachim Dido

Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


"Mat" Matthew James FARRELL

Born 1878 in Huntly, Victoria, Australia [15]
Son of George FARRELL and Margaret BURNS [15]
His name was registered at birth as just Matthew FARRELL however he later went by the name of Matthew James FARRELL [15] [19]
Farmer in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia [152]
Shifted to Western Australia and spent three years on the Eastern Goldfields [152]
     He could be the Matthew FARRELL who was a Horse-Driver at Bonnie Vale in the Coolgardie district in 1906 [50]
He and his brothers William J. FARRELL and Thomas P. J. FARREL worked as contractors along the Midland Railway line [152]
     They went to what was to become the Perenjori district looking for land to take up as they wanted some for a horse run [152]
     In about 1908 himself and his brothers took up land "East of Carnamah" which would later become known as Perenjori [44] [152]
     He and his brothers Thomas P. J. FARRELL and William J. FARRELL were the first people to take up land in Perenjori [152]
Sharefarmer with his brothers as "Farrell Bros" in Mingenew 1908-1914 [9: 22-Jan-1909] [50] [81: 1-Feb-1914] [152]
     They share-farmed part of George J. GOOCH's 23,000 acre Bacton Station in Mingenew [9: 22-Jan-1909] [81: 1-Feb-1914] [152]
     In 1908 he grew 700 acres of wheat and 300 acres of oats on Bacton Station [9: 22-Jan-1909]
     600 acres of the wheat seeded early averaged four to five bags per acre, while the other 100 acres yielded only one bag per acre [9]
     The 700 acres of wheat crop in 1908 consisted of Bruta Wonder, Alpha and Lots Early varieties of wheat [9]
     The oats was Calcutta oats and 50 acres harvested yielded four bags per acre, while 250 cut for hay averaged 22 cwt. per acre [152]
     He was "a man of grit and determination" who "had unquestionably shown a most satisfactory record despite a bad season" [9]
     As a Victorian farmer of wide experience he remarked that the land at Mingenew was "first-class wheat growing country" [9]
     Through George J. GOOCH himself and his brothers donated £1 to the Children's Hospital in Perth in November 1908 [39: 7-Nov-1908]
     "Farrell Bros" advertised in December 1908 that they had seed wheat, skinless barley, oats and wheaten chaff for sale [39: 15-Dec-1908]
     In January 1909 he was exporting a trial shipment of 560 bags of wheat to London, England [9: 22-Jan-1909]
     If he received a satisfactory price for his exported wheat he planned to export further consignments [9: 22-Jan-1909]
     A photograph of Calcutta oats they grew in Mingenew was featured in The Western Mail newspaper on 11 December 1909 [120]
     Their average wheat yield from five years on Bacton Station in Mingenew was 15 bushels per acre [152]
     A fire went through Bacton C.1912 and he lost about £1,500 worth of stuff, as did his brothers and George J. GOOCH [39: 9-Dec-1915]
     It was reported in The Sunday Times newspaper that their 1913 crops had performed much better than the year before [81: 1-Feb-1914]
     Among their crops on Bacton Station in Mingenew in 1913 they reaped 800 bags of wheat from an 80-acre plot [81: 1-Feb-1914]
     Mingenew store manager Percy T. BRIDGE warned them against cropping land in Mingenew owned by Francis PEARSE [152]
     PEARSE required that those share-cropping his land mortgage what they owned to him, and thus risked losing everything [152]
Married Agnes Elizabeth CARY in 1911 [66]
Farmer in Perenjori 1915-1943 [19] [152]
     Shifted from Mingenew to his previously taken up land in Perenjori in mid 1915 [152]
     He had taken up 1,684 acres with Conditional Purchase leases 7198/56 and 21658/56 and Homestead Lease 11403/74 [44]
     His 1,684 acres became Victoria Locations 3711, 3583 and 3584 - the former in his name and the latter two in his wife's [44] [61]
     The land, of which 100 acres was sandplain, was salmon and gimlet with a bit of York gum country, and cost 10/- per acre [152]
     Purchased a harvester for £130 in 1915 [152]
     In 1916 he had three 7-foot harvesters, two 12-disc ploughs and cultivators, and 32 draught horses [152]
     Built a house on part of his brother's land as that is where there was water, having unsuccessfully bored for water on his land [152]
     In 1916 had a shed for his wheat, a bough shed for his machinery but no stables for his horses [152]
     After harvesting his 1916 crop he hoped to try putting down bores again so he could get sheep and take advantage of the feed [152]
Gave evidence in Perenjori to the Royal Commission on the Agricultural Industries of Western Australia on 25 November 1916 [152]
     He believed that in Perenjori every farmer needed at least 2,000 acres and ought to crop 500 to 600 acres each year [152]
     "If I had my time over again I would not take up land... It costs too much... in improvements... before a man gets anything" [152]
     He disliked using bags to transport wheat and thought that bulk handling would not only be easier but would reduce costs [152]
     Like others he believed farming implements should be imported free of duty as they were too expensive [152]
     He believed farming would be more successful in Perenjori if combined with stock as there was plenty of feed going to waste [152]
He grew 600 acres of crop on his Perenjori farm in 1923 [86: 7-Jun-1923]
In 1929 he was reported to have been "one of the leading farmers in the district" and had 900 acres of his farm in crop [39: 15-May-1929]
     The quantity and quality of his and his brother Tom's crops could always be relied upon as they worked their land so well [39]
In 1930 he cropped 1,300 acres of his farm with 900 of those acres being on fallowed ground [39: 22-May-1930]
     During his seeding in 1930 he managed the feat of sowing 47 acres in 10½ hours using a team of horses [39]
     His team of horses managed to seed an average of 37 acres per ten hours of work [39]
     The same quick-working team of horses had stripped an average of 19 acres a day over the preceding harvest [39]
     Perenjori notes in The West Australian newspaper reported he "farms his land well and works on a methodical scale" [39]
Exhibited in the Sheep section of the Three Springs Agricultural Show held in Three Springs on Thursday 19 September 1935 [5]
     Won 1sts for Strong Wool Merino Ewe, WA bred Strong Wool Merino Ewe over 1½ years and Medium Wool Merino Ram [5]
     Among his exhibits was also the Champion Merino Ewe in Show [5: 27-Sep-1935]
At the Perenjori Market held in Perenjori at 2 p.m. on Wednesday 16 October 1935 he had for sale 145 Merino ewes [5: 4-Oct-1935]
     The 145 ewes were of Koonoona blood, sound full mouth and were noted as a "particularly well bred line" [5: 4-Oct-1935]
Patron of the Five Gums Tennis Club from 1935-36 to 1940-41 [5: 4-Oct-1935] [89]
By 1946 himself and his wife were living at 84 Serpentine Road in Albany, but still owned their 1,684 acres in Perenjori [61]
Later resided in the Perth suburb of Victoria Park [2]
Died 13 May 1975; buried Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth WA (Roman Catholic, Lawn 9, 704) [2]

From the Progress Report of the Royal Commission on the
               Agricultural Industries of Western Australia on the Wheat-Growing Portion of the South-West Division of the State
Saturday 25 November 1916 at Perenjori
"MATTHEW JAMES FARRELL, Farmer, Perenjori, sworn and examined:
     I came here eight years ago looking for land and took this up. We (Farrell Bros.) were the first to take land up here and we wanted it for a horse run as we were contracting on the Midland line. With the exception of three years on the Eastern Goldfields I have been farming all my life, the last time at Bendigo. I took up 1,600 acres here, of which 140 acres was sandplain. The price is 10s. an acre and the land is five miles from the railway west. I have here 400 acres and fenced 800 in one block. I have put down several bores without success. One of them was 1,500 yards, which I excavated myself, and it cost me about 9d. a yard. I am a married man with three children too young to go to school. We are well stocked with implements and have three 7ft. harvesters, two 12-disc ploughs and cultivators, and we have 32 draught horses. I have built a house on my brother's land, where the water is. There is no stable for the horses, but I have a shed for the wheat and a bough shed for machinery. We shifted from Mingenew down here 18 months ago.
     I have 180 acres of crop and 50 acres were fallow, which looked better than the rest, but the storm bashed it down; nevertheless, I think fallow would give better results. The highest yield in any one year was last year, when I got 20 bushels over 135 acres. I have Federation in this year, but only expect 12 bushels an acre off 120 acres. I use a bushel of seed and 30lbs. of super to the acre, but last year I could not get any. It takes about three bags to pay the expenses of putting in and taking off a crop. I use a 12-disc plough with eight and 10 horses, and do about 10 acres a day. There is an 8ft. 6in. cultivator, which does 15 to 19 acres a day, a 17-drill, which does 22 acres, and a 7ft. harvester, which does about 10 acres a day. Bags are a terrible item to the farmer and bulk handling would reduce costs, in this direction particularly. All the farmers' implements should come in free of duty, as the expense of the machinery itself is already too great. For instance, I paid £130 last year for a harvester.
     There was so much rain last season that we had blight. I pickle but do not grade my wheat, nor have I tried to grow fodder crops, but vegetables grow well here. I paid £2 10s. a week wages and keep this year and men generally work about nine hours daily. Every man wants in this district at least 2,000 acres and ought to crop 500. Six hundred acres would be a maximum he should be expected to plough. If I had my time over again I would not take up land under the present conditions. It costs too much before a man gets anything off it in clearing, fencing and other improvements.
     It is the best of grazing country round here and in the running country the grass is at the present time as high as the table. It has been rung for five or six years and there is plenty of salt bush on it. I intend to go in for sheep and I think I will have another try with bores as soon as the crop is off. Most of the people in this district have been lucky in striking water. I have had no experience of dairying here.
     My country is salmon and gimlet with a bit of York gum. If you let a fire go through it, suckers become a trouble but if you ring-bark it you have no trouble with suckers. The most profitable method is to ring-bark first and then the salmon gum will burn right out to the roots. It costs 22s. 6d. to clear. I and my brothers were share farming at Mingenew for five years for Mr. G. J. Gooch. My average in wheat while share farming there was about 15 bushels throughout.
     What difference do you think there would be between the average there and here? I do not think any difference. In fact, I think this country is ahead of that. My brother had crops there but mine here stripped better than his. The difference in the rainfall is about one inch. I think farming would be a success here if combined with stock. At the present time there is a vast body of feed going to waste here for want of feeding it off."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Matthew James Farrell' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 5 July 2020 from [sources]

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