Peterborough Stories

Peterborough residents with Legendairy banner on foreshore

Peterborough pride is sky-high for Legendairy farmer and drone photographer 

The tiny town of Peterborough in south west Victoria is already renowned as the western gateway to one of Australia’s most famous coastal drives.

Now, this small coastal town on the Great Ocean Road three hours west of Melbourne has also been recognised as the 2015 Legendairy Capital of south west Victoria.

The honour – one of eight across Australia’s dairy regions – recognises that the dairy industry has been an important part of the fabric of the Peterborough community for generations.

Founded in the mid-1800s, the township has become a key service centre to the surrounding dairy heartland region.

It’s where local farmers collect their mail from the post office, opened in 1890, and buy fuel and general provisions from the local store and bottle shop.

Peterborough has a population of just 143, but is a major holiday and retirement destination for dairy farmers in the region due to its beaches, fishing and artistic influence. About 40 per cent of the local workforce employed in the technical and labouring sector is associated with providing support services to the dairy industry.

Local farmer Wendy Couch thinks the Legendairy recognition is long overdue.

“For once we can pat ourselves on the back and walk a little bit taller,” Wendy says. “It feels like we’re important, that we belong here and we’re an important part of the community.

“We’ve all got roots in dairy farming and something like this just makes the farmers feel good.”

Wendy and her husband Bill couldn’t think of a better place to farm.

“It truly is a piece of paradise and it’s a wonderful lifestyle,” she said. “Kids might think they’re a long way from town and missing out on fun but there’s so much fun to be had on the farm. I look back now at my childhood and hear stories of Bill’s childhood – you wouldn’t swap it for the world. We had horses, motorbikes and always had something to do. We had large families and the neighbours had large families as well so there were a lot of kids around.”

The Couch’s main farm at Nullawarre is 400 hectares and milks 700 cows. They employ five young people to oversee daily farm duties. Their Peterborough property is 285 hectares and used for young stock and pre-calving cows.

They milk mostly Friesians but Wendy is passionate about Jerseys and always makes sure there are a few in the herd.

“I’m a photographer and there’s nothing like photographing a cute Jersey,” she said.

Wendy also has a new toy, a DJI Phantom 2 drone, to get a bird’s eye view of their farm and the picturesque Peterborough backdrop.

“It takes amazing photos and videos and it’s the most beautiful area and farm to photograph from above,” she said.

Farming has been good for the Couch family. Although Bill and Wendy no longer milk, they remain active in herd and pasture management and they have no plans to leave the dairy industry they love.

“Bill will probably still be here in his 70s,” Wendy said. “When you marry a dairy farmer you’re in it for the long term but that’s fine with me. We’ve got such a beautiful farm that I’d hate to leave.”

For more information on Peterborough, LEGENDAIRY Capital of south west Victoria, visit www.legendairy.com.au/dairy-talk/peterborough

SUBSCRIBE