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Pfingst, Hermann - Small Mixed Farm.

Hermann Pfingst - The Property

In 1866 Hermann Pfingst Snr (1843-1927 -- 85 years) bought three 10 acre blocks Nos. 578, 579 and 580 on the east side of a road that was named Pfingst Road, in C 1911.

He built a slab house on Lot 580 facing Hamilton Rd and it was big enough to house all the family, about a eight persons. According to the insurance policy the house was 40 feet (12m) on each side.

This block was later transferred to grandson Fredrick who took over the original cultivation. Herman Jr (1899-1990 -- 91 years) was given the middle block 579 in 1932 and, in 1936 built his house there.

Lot 578 fronting Hamilton Road was sold to the Hannah family after WWI; the north-west corner is now occupied by the Assembly of God Church which the Hannah's started.

Sales conditions allowed Herman Jr to keep an allotment on the south-west corner of 578 which he gave to Norman (1925----- 84+ years) who built there in 1951 and still lives there; it was valued at 175 pounds ($5,420 in 2004 values).

The 20 acre farm in the sketch, Lot 567 on the west side of Pfingst Road, was bought by Hermann Pfingst on 9/3/1884 from Patrick Green who paid 15 pounds for it in 1876 at Crown Land Sales.

Pfingst old family home.
The family home was a simple two piece structure with the living quarters under one roof and the kitchen under another. The stove pipe stands out above the roof of the fuel stove alcove. The two separate areas was a fire precaution as the kitchen always had a wood burning stove.

The Pfingst Farm.

The sketch plan shows the 20 acre market garden family run farm which was only partially cleared of native vegetation which, in the local area, was substantial. Old growth would be up to a metre in diameter. The bush section was used for grazing by the two cows which were kept for family milk and the horses which were used for ploughing, as they never used a tractor.

The produce was carted to the Roma St markets once a week by horse and cart until they bought an T model Ford one ton truck in 1925; also about that time they bought a Dodge car.

The only machine on the property was a spray driven by a petrol engine both of which were carried on a cart pulled by a horse. The cabbage patch had to be sprayed to combat the moths which could damage the crop; two people used hoses to spray on each side of the cart.

The crops shown on the sketch were rotated so that the soil was not exhausted and once a crop was picked the plants were ploughed under to manure the area for a different crop; animal manure was also spread on the soil. Each bed was allowed to lie fallow for a time to further enhance the fertility.

The vine crops were grown on the higher part of the property where the soil was drier and clayey and the grass grew, the ploughing was harder and needed two horses whereas on the lower land only one was necessary.

No artificial fertilizer was used; the family obtained manure from: their farm animals, horse stables at Hamilton, the Exhibition ground and Sparkes slaughter yard at Chermside. The manure was put on a slide and dragged along by a horse while a couple of the family members spread it using shovels.

Hermann dug the well and, according to family legend, each time there was a drought "he laughed and dug another well" which means he was a renowned well sinker. There were a couple more wells on the property, and as a side benefit, they were used to cool soft drinks in the hot weather. The spring flowed all the time as a seepage water hole where the stock would drink; there was only a little overflow down a dirt gutter.

There was a house on the property when Hermann bought it; a low set weatherboard with studs showing on the verandas, iron roof, and the family added on to it as needed. A member of the family was a carpenter and organised the building by the family. Tanks provided domestic water until the town supply was connected in 1948.

On the east side of the house was the truck and car shed with the larger barn beyond; it held all the paraphernalia of the farm, as well as the horse stables and, at the eastern end, the cow bails for milking.

The fowl run, which held about 20 birds, provided eggs and meat for the family and was surrounded by 13 mango trees of different varieties, providing a large supply for the family and friends. Also there was a hutch in the fowl yard holding Angora rabbits which, Norm thinks, were kept for the skins and maybe, meat. But since he was very young at the time the family did not tell him too much for fear that he might get upset.

The fences around the property were made of split posts and barbed wire but the front fence to the house was a split rail fence; all hand made using wedges and maul, and trimmed with an adze; the timber cut from the property.

Sketch drawn by Norman Pfingst of the 20 acre farm on the west side of Pfingst Road. The lower left corner area was left under tree cover and used for grazing the farm animals.

Post World War II Development of Wavell Heights.

After WWII Herman Jr was thinking about developing his 10 acre block but he did not have the money to pay for the streets, water supplies and other infrastructure so he sold it to developers in 1949 for 600 pounds ($22,200 in 2004 values).

In about 1950 the 20 acres on the west then owned by Peter (1868-1953 -- 85 years) was repossessed by the Public Curator with compensation of 2,700 pounds ($99,800 in 2004 values) and developed by the Housing Commission and War Service Homes with land set aside for Wavell Heights State School. Peter was allowed to keep two allotments including the one with the old house.

Hermann Jr worked on the farm as a young man but then worked in Maggs Bristol Tannery. He left the farm in the early 1920s when he married and went to live in Second Avenue, Kedron only to come back in 1936 and build a house. He continued at the Bristol and when it was sold to Johnston & Sons and kept working till he retired at the age of 70.

Norman) worked at Brett's' timber mill in Newmarket Road as a labourer after he left school. It was a large mill employing between 300 and 400 men, logs brought in cut for all sizes of timber and included a plywood yard where veneer was cut from logs and glued together to form three ply. The mill closed in about 1973 partly due to competition from Japan in the plywood section and the need to shift to the outer suburbs where most of the house building was located.

In 2008 suburbia replaces the bushland scene that faced the Pfingst family. This photo is taken from the Pfingst property on the west side of Pfingst Road looking at their properties on the east side. Corner of Miller Street and Pfingst Road, Wavell Heights.