Establishing a village

by Ann van Engelen

West Melton, known as the village on the plains has more than 150 years of history since the area was first settled.

Horses played a significant role in transport and agriculture and pulled carts for transporting people. Draught horses were used for pulling agricultural implements. A paddock would be ploughed, and seed was scattered by hand from a sack strapped to the workers’ shoulders. Then the ground would be harrowed to cover the seed.

In 1880, Lincoln College was opened, and experiments were carried out to benefit the farming community helping to increase production in the area.

In 1922 Kempthorne Prosser and Co opened their fertiliser works at Hornby and superphosphate was used with mixed success. It wasn’t until the pH of soil was raised through using lime that more fertility was achieved.

In 1881 Alfred Saunders MP arrived in West Melton and purchased a farm that he referred to as a ‘bleak and wild looking property’.

Now, the landscape of the area is vastly different with well-established properties including manicured lawns, and many plantings of trees and shrubs as the area has grown and matured.

The area had two millennium projects for the year 2000 including a drinking fountain made of local Greywacke stone and granite to mark the birth of Jesus Christ, and a bas-relief sculpture of a horse.

In recent years there has been an increase in demand in housing for families relocating from the red-zoned areas. That saw a large portion of land made available for housing development with an increase in population and the local school was redeveloped to cater to the area’s growth. There are also several early childhood centres including play centre, kindergarten, preschool and nursery.