“History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page,
’tis better written here, where gorgeous tyranny hath thus amass’d,
all treasures, all delights,
that eye or ear, heart, soul could seek, tongue ask.” – Lord Byron
Our beautiful Farm is located in the Byron hinterland and comprises a total of 170 acres of land. The land was cleared around the turn of the 19th century and has been used for a variety of farming and forestry purposes: cropping, cattle, agricultural and forestry processing. The first European owners of the land were the Chadwick family who sold to the Pearson family, who in turn sold it to Cecil Giles around 1940. At this time three Giles brothers Cec, Elvin and Les all owned adjoining farms and, between them, controlled most of the best cattle and banana land in the valley. The land owned by Cecil was used for cropping of bananas, running cattle for meat and dairy as well as forestry access and forestry processing.
At the height of production, the farm accommodated 9 families and 39 people living in houses around the farm. The families were growing bananas in the steeper hills of adjacent properties and processing their produce on The farm, making good use of the ample spring water and flatter land that could be accessed via the road. The bananas were lowered down the hills via a “flying fox” system of pulleys: fertilizer would be sent up the hill and multiple bunches of bananas would be sent down.
When tractors and dozers became more common place a series of access roads were installed that provided full access to the farm paddocks and made the pulley system redundant. During this period the Giles family were using the farm for cropping, forestry, raising pigs and cattle and dairy production. Agricultural processing, such as the dairy production, was undertaken by the Giles family; however, the banana packing and forestry processing was undertaken by others who leased residential property on The Farm.
In around the late 60’s and early 70’s bananas began to be grown in northern Queensland and prices fell substantially. Banana farming in the Northern Rivers area died away and the families that relied on this industry slowly moved away. Various types of agriculture were pursued continuously on the farm. Eric Giles and his wife Kay operated cattle, forestry and cropping on the farm continuously. The Restall family intend to continue the ongoing care and passion Eric and Kay brought to the farm while tailoring its output to ensure a paddock to bottle drinks experience to customers of Lord Byron Distillery.