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Massey Ferguson Visits The Collingwood Children's Farm

Massey Ferguson paid a visit to The Collingwood Children’s Farm to find out more about their unique working farm situated only four kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD.

Arriving early in the morning the farm is already full of energy and small children bursting with excitement, anticipating their first encounter with farm animals. The staff and volunteers are already hard at work too, feeding animals and maintaining the upkeep of the land. The Collingwood Children’s Farm is clearly a working farm and isn’t just for show.

On our way down to the farm Barn we can’t help but notice the Massey Ferguson 4708 glistening in the winter sun outside their workshop, however first of all we are here to learn more about the Collingwood Children’s Farm and what it means to the local and wider Victorian community. We are greeted by Andrew, one of the farmers on site and it is immediately clear that he is proud of his role at the farm.


One of the first things we learn about is the farm’s social engagement charter. “The Farm is here for people who are disadvantaged, focusing on children and young adults”, Andrew tells us. The farm is also a centre for the Riding for the Disabled Association, and is committed to making itself as accessible to all regardless of circumstance.

The Collingwood Children’s Farm will be celebrating its fortieth birthday next year, though farming has been occurring on the land for over 175 years, including by the Sisters of Good Shepherd who established the site as a convent farm back in 1863. Despite the Sisters no longer farming the paddocks their connection to the land is not completely lost. Visitors to the farm tell Andrew and his fellow farmers stories of seeing the Sisters working away in the paddocks dressed in their habits up until the mid 1970s.


During the convent years the farm had a great sense of self-sufficiency and productivity, so much so that excess produce was used to barter for what was needed by the nuns. The farm today tries to echo that same sense of self-sufficiency, implementing sustainable practices such as recycling and closed loop farming, all done to make best use of materials and local conditions. 

Providing education to those attending the farm is a central pillar of its operation, as Andrew explains the farm also exists to allow people to engage with agriculture. The location of a working farm only four kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD provides a unique opportunity for children to connect with agriculture which otherwise wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the farm.  “Young children are becoming disconnected from their food, they go to the supermarket and everything is prepackaged” Andrew explains.

 It’s all about forming connections with the land at Collingwood Children’s Farm. Whether it’s as simple as a cuddle with a lamb in Spring, or teaching school-aged children about the paddock-to-plate process and sustainability. By enabling these opportunities the farm helps children and adults become more aware of the agricultural industry and better able to make the connection to where their food comes from.

Like all farms, machinery is a necessity and that’s where Massey Ferguson comes in. Massey Ferguson has proudly been involved with the Collingwood Children’s Farm for the past six years, supplying the MF 4708 to the farm. “We’ve got a variety of purposes for the tractor” Andrew explains, “today it will be out slashing paddocks and helping lay green manure”.

Though it’s not all hard work for the MF 4708, the tractor aptly nicknamed ‘Big Red’ regularly takes children around the farm on tractor rides which is always a popular event. And for most city children, it might be the only real tractor they ever get to see up close. Big Red has also been a participant in countless photographs, with children dwarfed by the large tractor, their parents exclaiming “…this tractor tyre is bigger than you!” Andrew tells us with a smile.

Leaving the farm it’s easy to see why over 150,000 people visit annually, a little bit of country life so close to a busy metropolis isn’t something you can experience anywhere else in the nation. Returning visitors are common practice at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, with children very eager to see if they’ve grown taller than Big Red.