Alanvale is a small allotment on the Darkan South Road in Western Australia and originally a portion of "Rhodesdale Farm", a property established in 1904 by Thomas Monteith Rhodes (1846-1917), wife Maria (Backshall, 1852-1940) and son, Thomas Augustus John Rhodes (1874-1958). The farm was originally established to supply the dried grape and fruit industry because of the remote location. After Thomas' death, the property was sold in 1918.
Subsequent to that time, the property has been owned by WG and EM White and Son then sold to LR and VM Kelly in 2001 predominantly used for sheep and grains. It is now managed by Brooke and Pam Kelly.
The land was first presented to Council in 2009 fo subdivision on the basis that the road ran through the centre of the property and the planning consultant advised that the State Planning Commission would probably not permit it. Regardless of this, the West Arthur Shire Council approved subdivision unanimously. West Arthur is a small shire of 868 people who work together and on an annual budget of only $5,000,000 the Councillors do wonderful things for the ratepayers which would be the envy of large fringe cities such as Wanneroo where the budget is over $250,000,000 and the ratepayers don't even know the names of their Councillors (and don't get the same service). This is because everybody knows everybody (probably even related) and the community is encouraged to be actively involved.
Thomas Rhodes' sister, Elizabeth was the Great Grandmother of Trevor Blencowe of Willetton, my 7th Cousin 1x removed so perhaps this purchase was meant to be.
For the climate change sceptics, the average rainfall in 1959 was 750mm and now is around 550mm. The trend has been downward for the last hundred years and from this chart, it could be said that change is still happening but in 2013, we have had close to the driest June on record and the wettest September in 90 years, not the best for control of weeds in the crop but what a crop! In the big scheme of things, we need to watch this space but for the present, we need to work with what we have.
August 2013 - barley crop managed by neighbour, Brooke Kelly of "Rhodesdale Farm" - Photo courtesy, Rick Bee of "Beehaven", Minigin
Getting power on site
Thanks to the Kellys, the pole, transformer and green dome and also a new dam were on site prior to purchase. Trench cutting by Rhodesdale Digger Service (Brooke Kelly). The wiring was completed by Black Stump Electrical (Chris Thompson) of Kojonup and Western power connected the meter.
The first crop of "Vlamingh" barley was harvested in December 2013 over 10 of the 12.5 hectares. Seeding, fertilising, pest control, fire breaks and harvesting were managed by Brooke Kelly and seed was collected at a rate of 4.21 ton/hectare and accepted at the Darkan CBH bin. The straw was windrowed, baled and bundled for transport over the road to Rhodesdale.
Site Contour Surveying
Once the straw was baled and bundled, contour surveying was commenced and planning finalised for earthworks for buildings, swales and localised drainage.
Once again more trenching and Black Stump ran the underground power from the meter to the shed. The distribution box will provide power to the pumps, shed and future house and machine shed. Tim Earnshaw from Darkan Earthmoving graded the new contour drain and silt trap to double the water collection to the dam. Three days later, after 67mm of rain, the dry dam contained over half a metre of water. The dam will be monitored this year before considering further drainage works.
After Brook's sheep were borrowed to reduce the feed, and after the rain, seeding began, this year with oats.
2015 Early planting (oats) was established this year after good rains. The lines in the crop cut through by the new drain are stubble lines left after baling straw from the barley crop.
2016 saw completion of the machine shed with power by Black Stump Electrical of Kojonup and floor by Collie Concreting and clearing of the cottage site. Tanks both sides are connected for self leveling and are mosquito and vermin proof. Cropping and spraying this year is by Danny Buller who has leased the cropping area and also carrying out remedial weed control and fertilising. This is my way of ensuring that my weeds do not become a problem for my neighbours.
Farm Dam Volume Calculator You have probably always looked at your dam and thought "half full" but now you can assess the actual volume. Try this out and see if it is helpful to you, even if you only want to find out the total capacity.
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