Julie and Bruce Buck might have moved off the land but a memento of their dairy farming life has stayed with them and become something of an accidental tourist attraction.
The unique, chainsaw-carved tree-trunk letter box in the shape of a farmer and his cow takes pride of place outside their new home on the Princes Highway in Panmure, south-west Victoria.
It’s even become an attraction for passing motorists in one of Australia’s heartland dairy regions.
“We often see a car stop out the front and someone hop out and take a photo, then off they go again,” Julie said.
There’s just one drawback – the carving doesn’t get used for its original purpose.
“It was made as a mailbox, but we don’t have mail delivered out here,” Julie said.
Still, the Bucks don’t mind having their unusual and unused mailbox in the spotlight.
“Being on the highway more people see it now. Not a lot of people saw it on the farm, though the odd person stopped for a photo,” Julie said.
The Bucks bought the chainsaw carving about five years ago at the Noorat Show after Julie watched the artist at work from a nearby food van that she was manning for the day.
“I thought; fancy putting a chainsaw artist next to a food van with all the dust and noise,” Julie said.
Then she saw his work.
“I loved it,” Julie said. “Being a dairy farmer, I loved the image of the cow. It’s certainly an attraction now. I hope it reminds people about the dairy industry.”
Just like the carving that moved with them, the Bucks have also found it too hard to give up farming completely.
Julie and Bruce leased their Laang farm about 18 months ago and moved to Panmure, but they keep a close interest in the dairy industry and run young stock on a 40 hectare block.
“We wanted a change but Bruce didn’t want to sell the farm so we leased it,” Julie said. “Leasing is like letting go without letting go. It’s always there if we feel the need to go back.”
The oversized letterbox is also always there as a constant reminder of their active farming days.
“It was part of the farm that we couldn’t let go,” Julie said.
Julie was on the farm for 18 years while Bruce grew up on the family property. Both are strong supporters of dairy and the Legendairy communications initiative to raise the profile and reputation of the industry.
“The dairy industry has been good to us and I’m really pleased if our letterbox gets people thinking and talking about the industry,” Julie said.
First published in Leading Agriculture Issue 10