In 1890 the government of Henry Parkes established a Department of Agriculture, and among its many duties it was the oversight a system of farm schools and experiment farms. (1)
The Bathurst Experiment Farm was established in 1895, and the first students commenced their studies in March 1897 (2). From the beginning the Farm's main function was to educate both students and local farmers in the area of agriculture. The students received practical and theoretical training in a number of subjects, and after two years they were awarded a farm certificate. (3)
In the first five years of operation the Farm could only accommodate thirteen students and had no permanent academic staff. (4) Between 1902 and 1913 a number of permanent teaching staff were appointed, and by 1913 the educational aspect of the Farm's activities had developed into a well established and smooth running program. (5)
There was accommodation for 34 resident students, and non resident students were also admitted to the course. Applications for admission of students were received by the Under Secretary of Agriculture. (6) In addition to practical work students attended lectures on agriculture, orchard horticulture, veterinary science, sheep and wool, dairy science, botany, chemistry, entomology, soil physics, book keeping, and mensuration. (7)
Teaching at the Farm was suspended in August 1941 due to the Second World War. (8) However the Farm staff continued with their work during this time.
During the war the Defence Department also used the site of the Farm as an Ordnance Department until 1946. (9) They continued until 1949. The site became the location for the Bathurst Teachers College from 12 March 1951. (10)
Footnotes and References:
(1) The Story of Three Colleges: A history of the Bathurst Government Reserve, Racecourse, Experiment Farm School, Teachers' College and Mitchell College of Advanced Education, by Theo Baker, p.30
(2) ibid, p.45.
(3) ibid, p.46.
(4) ibid, p.47.
(6) ibid, p.52.
(7) ibid, p.52.
(8) ibid, p.67.
(9) ibid, p.71.
(10) ibid, p.80.