Where city collides with country

Collapsed fence

"But I don't have any stock..."

I don’t know when this fence was built but it was there in the 1970s when I was a child and, as you can see, it does little more than serve as a marker these days.

The significance of the fence is that it marks our boundary with an abandoned house site held by an absentee owner. He doesn’t maintain his land and was shocked to receive a call from me asking him to share the cost of rebuilding the fence. “Whose stock trampled it? I don’t have any stock,” was his response. And that was before I gave him the estimate.

I had to very gently explain that fences slowly deteriorate over decades and eventually are beyond repair. The reality is that we have been maintaining his internal fences for some years and using those as a boundary fence but they too are now past it.

It’s the responsibility of both neighbours to build and maintain boundary fences – whether you have stock or not is completely irrelevant. After all, if he decided to sell, I reckon the fencing would suddenly become an asset (or not).

This incident touches on one of the reasons I decided to create the Milk Maid Marian blog. Unless farmers and other Australians “talk”, what hope is there of mutual respect?

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