Farming pioneer and former Dardanup Shire councillor, Peter Hayward Rose, leaves lasting legacy

Julie RoseCountryman
Farmer and former Dardanup Shire councillor Peter Hayward Rose died on October 28..
Camera IconFarmer and former Dardanup Shire councillor Peter Hayward Rose died on October 28.. Credit: Supplied/Rose family

Peter Hayward Rose

Farmer, Shire Councillor

Born: Bunbury 27 May 1924

Died: Bunbury 28 October 2023

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

This well-known quote was how Peter Haywood Rose lived his life and enabled his high regard throughout the farming community.

Born in 1924 to parents Tom and Winifred Rose, brother to Frank and Gerald and sisters Marie and Nancy, and living at Edgehill, Roelands, where they grew potatoes and lucerne and ran a dairy.

Peter was educated at Roelands School and Bunbury Senior High School, riding his pushbike 24km along rough roads to Bunbury on Sunday evenings to board, and returning home on Friday.

He excelled at arithmetic, physics and drawing. Graduating in 1941, the following year, just after his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and became a navigator, flying 20 missions for Coastal Command.

An inscription in Peter’s war time diary said: “Wednesday 15 August 1945 — VJ Day! Celebrated all day, elbowing the bar. Saw the King and Queen on their way to opening the new Parliament, also Winston Churchill. Was in Piccadilly Circus at 2am with the multitudes”.

A few simple lines on such a momentous day in history!

In November 1945 Peter returned to Edgehill and started work in the potato fields — hand-digging them with a fork.

This was the beginning of a long association with potatoes which continued until his death.

In 1947, the brothers bought 400ha of bushland north of Myalup, to become known as “The Coast”, parkland clearing it to use as a winter run-off block.

Cattle were driven on horseback from Roelands to The Coast over several days. This continued for many years until increased traffic made it too unsafe. This road would in future become the Forrest Highway.

Farmer and former Dardanup Shire councillor Peter Hayward Rose.
Camera IconFarmer and former Dardanup Shire councillor Peter Hayward Rose. Credit: Supplied/Rose family

In 1953, Peter married Barbara Hedges, building a home on the property across the Collie River from Edgehill in Burekup, and raised three daughters: Margaret, Jacky and Gail.

In the 1960s, the brothers discovered a shallow aquafer with quality water enabling them to set up an irrigation system — becoming pioneers of irrigation of the Myalup country.

Potatoes and lucerne were grown and Poll Dorset stud sheep bred.

New land was continually developed for potatoes and lucerne, with fat lambs grazing on the lucerne during the winter.

In good years up to 22,000 sheep were handled, 3000 tonnes of potatoes grown and 3000 tonnes of lucerne hay baled and sold.

Certified lucerne seed was also produced and sold.

Peter’s father Tom was a founding member of the Potato Marketing Board and Peter served as a board member as well as secretary of the local Potato Growers Association.

Once the potato board dissolved, Peter specialised in growing potatoes for the chip market.

Over the years The Coast property grew to 800has.

In 1965, Peter was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship and the following year travelled throughout England and Europe for more than three months, studying potato growing and stud sheep.

Peter Hayward Rose
Camera IconPeter Hayward Rose Credit: Supplied/Rose family

This broadened his outlook and the appreciation of international markets changed his way of farming.

The Nuffield adventure shaped the following decades of farming and travel for the entire Rose clan, with people from all over Australia and beyond visiting their farming operations.

Nuffield was a big part of Peter’s life, and he continued the connection with fellow scholars during his final Nuffield tour to England and Scotland in 2017 — unchaperoned, at the age of 93!

In 1980, Frank left the partnership to concentrate on dairying at his Roelands property.

Peter and Gerald continued until 1995, when they separated and continued farming at separate coastal properties as well as their home properties at Roelands and Burekup.

Peter retained the well-known trading name of T. H. Rose & Sons.

In 2010, The Coast was sold and Peter retired to his Burekup farm where he always maintained a keen interest in farming.

In later years, some of the proceeds of the sale went to establishing ongoing educational scholarships for Indigenous students at several secondary Colleges in WA.

There were many organisations who were the beneficiaries of Peter’s philanthropic endeavours.

Apart from farming, Peter had other community involvements, being president of the Brunswick Agricultural Society, life member of the Royal Agricultural Society of WA, honorary member of Riding for Disabled, and patron of the Edgehill Gun Club and Burekup Tennis Club.

Peter served as a councillor for the Shire of Dardanup for 27 years. As a mark of respect, flags were flown at half mast throughout the shire on the day of Peter’s funeral.

Peter died seven months shy of his 100th birthday and is survived by his three daughters, two sisters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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