News

Dairy farmer loved the rural life

By Country News

Bamawm dairy farmer Vernon Helmore died on March 10.

Born on May 31, 1926, Vern, as he was known, lived his life without frills and fanfare and was used to hard work and doing things the practical way.

His parents Fred and Em were dairy farmers on the same farm continued by Vern.

He had a brother Bob, and his sister Kath is still living – in her 96th year. As children, they walked to the then Bamawm Extension Primary School.

When Vern was just 16 years old, he spent many weeks in hospital with an abscess on his brain — something that returned to him again in his late 70s and again took an extensive amount of strength and determination to recover and rehabilitate from.

As a young lad, this and the fact that he was too young to enlist to fight in World War II, helped develop his sense of determination and commitment to working hard for what he wanted to achieve.

His marriage and partnership with Nancy was one that furthered that commitment to provide for their family, utilising the production of their farm with hard work.

They milked cows and grazed sheep, which meant a regular supply of prime two-tooth to kill.

The rituals around butchering it and cutting it up on the kitchen table for the freezer remain a vivid memory for the girls.

Susan and Leonie, like all farm kids, were the farm hands and lent a hand in the milking, de-horning the poddies and giving love and comfort to the calves prior to them going to market.

They weren’t the ‘‘sons he didn’t have’’ they were part of the farm life and Sue inherited a love of football after listening to her dad follow it, and particularly Richmond, on the radio in the dairy.

Vern lived out his belief in giving people a fair go and would have boys from the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre stay and put them to work on the farm.

Farm work was put aside on weekend golf days, with Vern earning life membership of the Bamawm Golf Club.

When he and Nancy retired from their years of farming dairy cattle, sheep and all that went with running their rural property, they embraced the life of being grey nomads.

For a dozen years they headed up north, following the sunshine playing golf, then bowls, enjoying the peacefulness and the companionship of each other.

They frequently went fishing and met up with the friends they made at regular places.

Vern is survived by his daughters, Sue and Leonie, and eight grandchildren.