Tasmanian Farmers and Stockowners Association

Farming at Malahide, Fingal (AOT, PH30/1/3966)

The Tasmanian Farmers and Stockowners Association was formed in 1908 by pastoralist Albert Mansell in response to union militancy and the detrimental impact of Federation. It sought to defend members' interests and take action on 'practical and urgent' problems, including stock stealing. From 1919 it became known as the Tasmanian Farmers, Stockowners and Orchardists Association (TFSOA), and by 1930 it had over 1000 members in some 19 branches. Various committees had been formed, dealing with the marketing of crops; rabbits and other pests; freights; stock diseases and brands; immigration; bush fires; and meat export. The TFSOA supported research into diseases and pests, and the establishment of the University's Faculty of Agricultural Science in 1962. Except briefly in the 1920s, it eschewed politics. In 1922 it supported the Country Party and in 1925 it protested at Administrator Nicholls' assenting to the Appropriation Bill, which because it allegedly proposed reckless expenditure had not passed the Legislative Council. The TFSOA financed a legal opinion, which stated Nicholls had acted wrongly. Further legal action was shelved after the two Houses reached a compromise, and the association returned to its original 'non-partisan' role, examining legislation likely to affect primary producers. Its main function was to represent rural employers in fixing employees' rates of pay and conditions of work. From 1984 to 1988 it operated as the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Employers Association and then as the TFGA Industrial Association.

Further reading: The Tasmanian Cyclopedia, Hobart, 1931; J McRae, The Tasmanian Farmers, Stockowners & Orchardists Association, Hobart, 1961; K Murphy, 'The Lyons government, the Legislative Council, and the “One House Bill”', THS 8/1, 2002.

Stefan Petrow