The Hancock family farm in Stratford is steeped in history, something that makes it priceless, says Daniel Hancock, who with his wife Raeleen farms the land today.
The dairy farm has been farmed by Daniel's family for 100 years, and Daniel is the fourth generation of Hancocks to be raising his family on the Pembroke Rd farm.
To celebrate the centenary, a family reunion took place at the farm this month, which included a tour of the farm as well as the sharing of plenty of memories from life on and around it.
The farm first came into the Hancock family in 1921, when Daniel's great-grandparents Ida and Herbert Hancock had the opportunity to buy a farm lease on the Pembroke Rd farm, which at the time was 97 acres in size.
One of their sons, Colin (Collie) Hancock, with his wife Cecelia Hancock, took over the farm in 1965, but had already worked on it for many years.
Collie, who moved to town after selling the farm to his son, Daniel's dad Paul, in 1981, has plenty of memories of growing up and working on the family farm.
"My father died in 1944 and so I left the high school then, when I was 15, to come and help mum on the farm. It was hard work, but mum was a hard worker too, we all were, we just got it done."
Collie says Ida always trusted him to do the right thing on the farm, right from when he first left school.
"I remember deciding to pull down an old implement shed and building a new one. I started when we were putting the cows out and was done before calving. I was no carpenter, but I got it done. I do wonder know, how did mum have so much faith in me, just a 16 or 17-year-old boy, but she did. She knew I could do it."
"She was a great boss, she was always willing to let me have a go at everything. She believed in me. When dad died it would have been much easier for her to sell up, but she didn't, she kept the farm going."
The hardest job on the farm back then, he says, was manuring.
"They used to deliver the sacks as 12 to the tonne, so 80 kilos, I had to move those around at 15 years old. They were bloody heavy."
Collie met his future wife Cecelia at a dance, and says for him at least, he knew immediately she was the one for him,
"When I ran into Cecelia I was just flattened. That was it. I never looked at another girl after that."
The couple, who married in 1953, then sharemilked on the farm until they bought it in 1964, after Ida died in the December of 63.
Within a few years of buying the farm Collie and Cecelia added to it, purchasing 60 acres from a neighbour. Since then, the farm has grown again with Paul also purchasing neighbouring land, with the farm now covering 197 acres.
Herd numbers have also changed over the years, although since 1985 that number has stayed constant at around 200.
"It's the right balance, we could have more on the land, but we think 200 is about right when it comes to sustainability and quality."
When Collie left school, the herd consisted of just under 50 Friesian and crosses, increasing to 120 in 1968.
"I got rid of all the rubbish," says Daniel, referencing the fact the herd is now back to being purely Friesian.
While the Hancocks have farmed the land for a century, a lot of things have changed in farming over the years say Collie and Daniel.
Collie says machinery was the biggest change.
"They have it easier now, with the machines to do the work," says Collie.
Legislation has increased a lot over the years too, and Daniel says he thinks Collie and his peers would struggle with some of that today, saying it would stop them doing a lot of the things they did naturally.
"Even building that shed when he was 15 or so, you couldn't do that now. Even things I did on the farm just 10 years ago, already the requirements are changing again so I have to constantly adjust."
While riparian planting was introduced in the region in 1996, the Hancock farmers have always looked after the water on their land, says Collie.
"We fenced off around the gentle Annie river that runs through the farm, and only every had three or four beefies a year in the paddock by it. We make a living off the environment so it's in our interests to care for it."
The river used to provide plenty of fish for the family he says, remembering a time when a nun at primary school didn't believe him when he told her they had caught several trout and eaten them for breakfast.
Despite now happily farming on the family farm, Daniel says he never thought he would, and it was horses, not cows, that sort of got him there.
"I didn't plan to be a farmer originally. I went to university with a plan of working in farm banking or something, then I worked for Ravensdown, selling fertiliser. Dad was going away to the Melbourne Cup and had no-one to relief milk for him so he asked me. I milked for a week and afterwards said to Raeleen, I really want to go farming."
He and Raeleen began sharemilking, eventually buying the farm from Paul in 2008.
Economically speaking, buying the family farm off his dad was not the best decision, says Daniel.
"Economically, it was the worst decision we ever made. We could have bought a much bigger farm, down South, we could have had three times the farm and three times the cows."
"You'd have had three times the worry too though," says Collie.
"It was the history of this particular farm we were happy to pay for. That's what made it an easy decision for us. You can't put a price on that history, that family connection."