The La Perouse Gardens are a living relic of our past Chinese agricultural heritage, it is imperative that the three lots be combined under one title which has a long term rental ( at least five years with five year option) so that this highly productive and economically viable heritage asset remains, for generations to come. Fred Haskins NSW Farmers Association
The gardens have been managed by Chinese farmers for around one hundred years , supplying fresh produce to the city of Sydney and beyond.
The farmers originally farmed the flood plains of the Pearl River in Canton China, and on becoming farmers in NSW selected the deep sandy Loam soils of La Perouse, Matraville, San Souci, and later Milperra as these locations were similar to the growing conditions of their homeland.
Three farms remain within the close proximity of the City of Sydney, one at La Perouse, one at Matraville and one at Rockdale.
These three farms are probably the last farms in Australia that are still farmed in a similar technique , to those many Chinese farms that most country towns had supplying fresh vegetables during the period 1860 to 1960.
There are about two and fifty Chinese farms located in the peri urban areas of western and North Western Sydney, however these farms are on clay soils and are farmed using similar agricultural technology and equipment as European Farmers.
The high rainfall 1000 mls PA at Mascot Airport, high water table, and deep sandy loam soils, which give good drainage, are very essential to be able to grow many of the Asian root vegetables they produce.
This type of country due to the high water table limits the use of heavy equipment, resulting in the agricultural practises used today are not that far removed from those of fifty years ago.
Irrigation using sprinklers and pumps were introduced in the late 1960 s, as were walk behind rotary hoes.
Previous to the use of sprinklers, the farmers used the ancient pole across the shoulders carrying a bucket at each end to manually water crops . This tool was known as a “Darm Teal”.
Recently small four wheel drive tractors ( under twenty horse power) have also been purchased, however their use is restricted to drier periods of the year.
The high use of manual labour and the sandy loam soils allows these farms during prolonged wet weather periods to be able to continue to sow and provide produce, where as those farmers on the clay soils in western Sydney, are not able to use their tractors, but also lose their crops due to soil water saturation.
The La Perouse Garden is very productive, due to soil type, drainage, and high rainfall. The gardens require very little irrigation . Unlike horticulture west of the range they are not on a stressed river system DPI stats show 11 megs PA are require to produce these intensive horticultural crops. As was stated previously 10 megs PA is delivered by annual rainfall. They are within close proximity of the Centre of Sydney and fresh food produce shops.
The farm acts as a filter purifier to the water inflowing from suburban areas upstream before these waters are deposited into Botany Bay. ( photos taken during the heavy storms last April, clearly show this effect.) The farm is within close proximity to Port Botany and acts as a sentinel for introduced exotic pests escaping from the terminal ( recent examples are the Giant African Snail and Fire Ant incursions at Port Botany)
Social and Tourist
The location and topography of the farm being in a valley water course allows spectacular views of the workings and lay out of the farm from the Cemetery from the north, Bi Centennial Perk from the west and Hill 60 from the south. How many other cities of the world can boast a highly productive profitable working horticultural enterprise within a few kilometres of the city centre.
I am led to believe that the three lots combined paid an annual rental of approximately $35000 PA, how many of our other heritage sites actually generate income for the Crown?
The La Perouse Gardens are a living relic of our past Chinese agricultural heritage, it is imperative that the three lots be combined under one title which has a long term rental ( at least five years with five year option) so that this highly productive and economically viable heritage asset remains, for generations to come.