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Country Calendar celebrates the life of John Clarke by re-airing an episode from 1974. This episode is the first time the character of Fred Dagg was brought to TV audiences.

Take a look at iconic rural Kiwi life in New Zealand's longest running television series! Made with the support of NZ on Air.

Primary Title
  • Country Calendar
Episode Title
  • Special Tribute to John Clarke
Date Broadcast
  • Wednesday 12 April 2017
Start Time
  • 19 : 30
Finish Time
  • 20 : 00
  • 30:00
  • 1974
  • TVNZ 1
  • Television New Zealand
Programme Description
  • Take a look at iconic rural Kiwi life in New Zealand's longest running television series! Made with the support of NZ on Air.
Episode Description
  • Country Calendar celebrates the life of John Clarke by re-airing an episode from 1974. This episode is the first time the character of Fred Dagg was brought to TV audiences.
  • Unknown
Owning Collection
  • Chapman Archive
Broadcast Platform
  • Television
  • English
Live Broadcast
  • No
Rights Statement
  • Made for the University of Auckland's educational use as permitted by the Screenrights Licensing Agreement.
  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Documentary
  • Newsmagazine
  • John Clarke (Actor)
  • Frank Torley (Producer)
  • Television New Zealand (Production Unit)
  • NZ On Air (Funder)
(COUNTRY CALENDAR THEME) At home on every rural road ` (BIRDS CHIRP, ROOSTER CROWS) (ROOSTER CROWS LOUDLY) (GRUNTS) - (SIGHS) - (ROOSTER CLUCKS) (SINGS) Under the pressure of economic circumstances, farmers ` reluctantly at times ` are forced to become specialists like everybody else. So we were very happy to find one who hasn't. Fred Dagg faces each new day fresh in body and optimistic in spirit. Because, unlike the specialists, he finds that the current economic climate is having little or no effect on his level of profitability. Puha! (SINGS)` Argh! Turn the seperator off! (COUGHS) The stock we've got on the farm, we've got all sorts of animals here. You do need animals in farming, we've found. Uh, and we've got all manner of animal here ` we've got, um, cows, horses, sheep, ducks, fowl, chooks, geese, hamsters, the wife. Basically, for economic reasons, though, we tend to concentrate on the cows and the sheep, the others being domestic animals ` and they don't pay. Uh, we find they don't pay very well. Neither, of course, do the cows and the sheep. But they do pay a little better than, for instance, the hamster, which is, uh` there's not a lot of return on hamsters at the moment on the open market. ...what we are about to receive. We must remember to thank the old Sheila. I run the place with my sons, of whom there are approximately half a dozen. Uh, Trevor here, he's the first-born, and he's the eldest as a result of that. And, um, he's a, uh, a little thick, actually, is Trevor, but a very, very valuable man indeed with cows. Um, Trevor, on the other hand, is more your sheep man. Uh, and there's not a lot that he doesn't know about the woolly creatures. Trevor ` um, he's the third one. He was involved for several years in animal husbandry. Unfortunately, though, he was apprehended and spent some time at the Mt Crawford office. But since being back, he too has been a tower of strength. Trevor, on the other hand, is very interested in crops. He's actually something of a bore on all other known subjects, but on crops, he really knows his onions. Then there's Trevor, who, for some time, was away studying economics. But he found that didn't pay. That wasn't paying at all, as far as Trevor was concerned, so, uh, we've got him back on the farm now. And we're very grateful, indeed, to have him back. Woolshed fell down last night. (PLATES CLINK) I don't know what you made it of, Trevor. (UTENSILS SCRAPE) (CRACK!) Uh, all the other lads, over the years, have been built up with good, wholesome, strong meals and quite a lot of work and toil out in the field. Uh, young Trevor hasn't had quite a lot of experience in that regard, and he's a little` he's a little` well, he's a little fella. He's puny, is young Trev. And, to be honest, we're a trifle worried about him. I want you to look out for that cow today with eczema. You can't miss it ` it looks like the old Sheila. I think I might go into town today. So I want the number plate taken off the tractor... and put on the Land Rover. We've got 14,000 acres ` 13,000 in grass and 1000 in rock, up the back. Uh, now, what you see here is the land is basically divisible into two basic types. There's the hill` the actual hill country, and then there's the flat country, which has, uh, not got any hills on it at all. (COUNTRY CALENDAR THEME) Now, I run this place with the boys with military precision. We do have a difficulty sometimes with the similarity of the boys' names. But we tend to get around it fair enough. And basically the place runs really well. I'm not a hard taskmaster, but I do like to have my instructions well understood and to have everybody who knows his job, and he's not gonna do anyone else's, and no one's gonna go and do his. The place runs very, very well indeed ` very much like the way that, uh, Montgomery organised the army during the war, and, one would hope, with similar results. Now, one of the most important, uh, aspects of the pastural existence, in our particular case, is the breaks that we have during the day, where I like to get the lads together. They all have a bit of a feed; we get a bit hungry out there working. And I have a few words to them about, uh, oh, what sort of thing we're gonna do for the rest of the day and how we've been doing. In particular, we like to try and build up Little Trev, who, like I said before, is proving a little bit of a problem in the weight department. He weighs about 7 or 8 ounces, and this is just not paying. (BURP!) Righto, you guys. Now, then... Now, then, listen. Trev, I want you to go inseminate the herd. Trev, I want you to have a decent look at the tractor. It seems to running backwards. Uh, Trev, I want you to go down the patent office and see if you can get hold of that separator I sent down there. Yeah. Trev, I want you to shift that hill; it annoys me there. I want you to tow it down and put it in that hollow down there where I've shown you all that bad pasture. (TREV GRUNTS) And, Trev, I want you to whip up the back at change the ear marks on those 200 hoggets. And if the vet asks where the old ones are, tell him they fell off. (WRENCH CLINKS) It's all right for ya. Yeah, gidday. Uh, this is the, uh,... This is the milking set-up. She's been, as far as farm economics is concerned, she's been a, uh... Yeah, righto. She's been, uh, a fair proposition. It cost us about, on a per-bail rate, uh, it would've cost us around... Ooh, around` around` around` oh, around about $25. MAN: Per bail? No, no, no. That's for the whole thing. Actually, the wife did most of the heavy work. We were going to put on a rotary set-up, but, um... but, uh, the brother-in-law's got one of those, and, um, oh, they're not as, perhaps, as good as they're cracked up to be. (ENGINE REVS) Gidday. He's had a bit of trouble with it. Apparently something went wrong with the rotary mechanism, and he found he was homogenising his milk before it left the property, which, apparently, doesn't pay. So we've got this set-up here, which we're very happy with. We've had a bit of trouble with it recently, though. Um, had a little bit of trouble, bit of bother with it. Uh, what exactly was the trouble, Trev? The multi-fryer screw on the, uh, decompressor plate moved into the fetching gear, and that` Yeah, all right. Shut up, Trev. Yeah, I've got it. It broke. Uh... (DOG BARKS) Get outta there! Yeah, it broke. And, uh,... we've` we've had people out from the town looking at it. Uh, all sorts of jokers. But, uh, they didn't seem to be able to work out what was the matter with it. Uh, actually, the wife fixed it one night. Never found out what was the matter with that. Uh... Uh... Hello. That's the neighbour. He's looking for a couple of hundred tutus he lost a couple of weeks ago. He won't find 'em out there. We buried them up the back there. Um, he'll never find them. (SHEEP BLEAT) There. That's a big one. The sheep, at the moment, are not paying. And, of course, the bigger the sheep is, uh, the more it's not paying. So what we're doing here is that we're doing, uh,... quite a lot of experimental breeding. Now, what we've bred in the last couple of years is that we've managed to breed a sheep which is a smaller sheep than the, uh, average-sized sheep. It's a small` It's not quite as large, that is to say. This is a very valuable addition to our stock, because it means that the money that you're losing is not quite so much. Now, the difficulty at the moment is keeping them small, because they tend to` once you get them, just in the peak of condition, they tend to run a complete riot on you. So, uh, what we're doing at the moment is we're trying to` once we've got them to the point where they become economically viable is to just keep them there. I've sent, uh` I've sent several truckloads of these off to Massey and Lincoln in very detailed plans. I've sent them other ideas too, which they won't listen to. I've had a lot of trouble with these lads. They just won't listen to common sense. (SHEEP BLEAT) CHUCKLES: I can do it on me own. (EXHALES) (WHISTLES) (PLATE CLINKS) (ENGINE WHIRRS) (CHICKENS CLUCK) (ENGINE STRAINS) Get out. Get out! Go on! A bit of bother, Trev? Uh, I go to town about, uh... ooh, once every... oh, at least once every five years. Uh, I like to get in there as often as possible. Uh... Um, now, I` I` It's not that` I don't really like the towns. I'm not very keen on the towns at all, in fact. But a man's gotta go in there sometimes and get a few provisions, one or two things that you can't get out of the woolshed or up at the neighbours' place. And, uh, so you have to go into town. The reason I don't like going into town is, uh, well, the first reason is the whole thing is rather confusing. I mean, in the simple respect in the instance of driving. I mean, a bloke has been driving since he was 4. A bloke can drive up and down backwards; he can drive in his sleep. But go to town, and, uh` I mean, last time I was in town, for instance, uh, you know, what used to be a two-way street's now a one-way street. You can't turn here. You used to be able to turn there, and now that's a block of flats and stuff. It's very, very difficult. Another thing is, I mean, a bloke gets dressed up; a bloke's perfectly normal in all respects. He's wearing very, very conventional clothing, um, and gets out in the streets, and everybody stops and looks at him, which is by no means comforting to the rural person, in which category I class meself. Um, and, uh, as a result, it's a wee bit on the horrendous side, is this town going. Um, it has to be done. It has to be done. I make no bones about it. But I do like to try, insofar as is possible, to play it me own way. (COUGHS) (ENGINE COUGHS, STARTS UP) Uh, I go to town, but I don't` I don't really ever want to become a town person. Uh, therefore, I'll wear their clothes, I'll look as poncey as you like, but I won't, uh` I can't bring meself to live their life in its entirety. I like to just put one or two snippets of me life into my town-going experiences. (CHICKENS CLUCK) (TREV CLUCKS) Now, about pastures, uh, you will find that most, uh, animals eat grass, so we're very concerned to keep the green outer covering of the earth in good order, but we're having a lot of trouble. Uh, there are several things that can go wrong with pastures. This is a classic example of what we've got here. Uh... This is not very good pasture at all cos it's too damp. It's too wet, uh, for the animals to get their teeth around. Uh, this over here in the shallows is better pasture than this deep stuff. Basically, they're both really bad, and we try to keep the stock as far as possible, uh, on to the more green areas. As I was tellin' you, we're havin' a bit of trouble with the milking gear. Uh, so I've invented a machine to get around it. Actually, most of the machine's down at the patent office. We've been waiting for it to come back for a couple of days, but the railways won't touch it. It'll be back shortly. But we have one or two bits and pieces that we can explain to ya. Firstly, uh, the idea being that, uh, we milk the cows out on the field. Gidday. Yeah. Uh, we milk the cows, um, out on the paddock, and then we go around with this machine, and we collect, uh, the milk, the problem being that we've gotta separate the milk from the hay. And this has been a rather tricky one, but let me just explain to ya. Basically, this piece of mechanism here, this is the canopy. Let me get that outta the way for ya. Now, what happens, basically, is that, uh,... this thing here, this cuts the, uh,... this cuts the hands` cuts the hay. And, uh, lies on the ground. We'll just get rid of that for you. And the next thing that happens is that this machine here, uh, which connects with a piece of chain, like so. Now, this picks the hay up, uh, with the milk. (GRUNTS) I'll just get rid of that for ya. (BANG!) Outta the way there. Now, the milk is then pumped up through this, or pumped down, depending on whether the machine's upside down, which happened the other day. Rather a tricky one, that. But that's what that does. Now, then. Uh,... (BANGING) Gidday. That's the neighbour. He's looking for his tractor. I don't think he'll find it, actually. Most of it's incorporated in the bit that's down at the patent office. Sit down! Now, this is the hubcap. That's just in case we take the machine to town. Let's get rid of that for ya. Now, what happens is that the hay comes into this thing, and it's separated here by these separating apparatuses, and it comes out here. It comes out here. We'll just get rid of that thing for ya. Now, the milk, on the other hand ` the milk runs down through here. Runs right down through here, and is duly separated. And in some occasions, if the machine's working fast enough, it homogenises at the same time, which is very handy, indeed. Now, the milk then runs off into this thing. Actually, we're not getting a lot of milk with this method. Not getting a lot of milk at all, cos the machine's not cutting low enough. We're just getting the milk that's, uh,... (BANG!) ...sitting at the top of the hay. We'll just get rid of that for ya. Now, the, uh, hay comes down and is placed in the boot. Gidday. Um, and, uh, of course, when we get home, these are the sides. The sides of the vehicle. And that's about all there is to it, really. Uh, it's a pity I can't, uh, get it going for ya. (DOG BARKS) Sit down! But, uh, we'll have it jacked up tomorrow if you'd like to come back. Thank you very much. Get down, you rotten (BLEEP)! . Are you missing out on Airpoints Dollars? Get a new Air New Zealand Airpoints credit card from Kiwibank and you'll get 100 bonus Airpoints Dollars and no account fee for six months. So hurry ` apply now using promo code NZ100. (COUNTRY CALENDAR THEME) This farm was handed down to me, uh, by me uncle, Wally Rehab. Um, and now the boys have grown up, there's a great companionship. There's a bond. There's a great feeling of, uh, getting together and pulling equal weights. In the evening, when we go for a stroll, perhaps before bowling into the dinners, I, you know, look across the low bits and off into the high bits in the distance, and, uh, I think, 'Well, really, a man couldn't be better off. A man could not be better off.' (CLINKING) (COUGHS) Puncture. Come on. (CLANKING) Get in behind! One of the more important things about farming these days is the machinery and the equipment. Now, uh,... your machinery and equipment are, um, precision articles, and they've gotta be very, very well maintained indeed. They've gotta be looked after. They've gotta be cared for, or otherwise they're just not gonna pay. They're gonna be uneconomic, uh,... and there's nothing worse on a farm than an uneconomic, non-paying proposition. Now, at the moment, I've got a totally non-paying, uneconomic proposition to the tune of 14,000 acres. (WHISTLES LOUDLY) The, uh, wool clip that we get off this particular place is now not getting half the money we were getting. And as a result, sheep, well, quite frankly, they don't pay. Now, as a result, instead of shearing twice a year, what we're doing at the moment is we're not shearing this year, and we're putting it back on to the sheep the wool we took off them in the previous year. Now, this process, the wooling, goes on at approximately the same time as the shearing used to. Um, and what basically happens is that we do the full muster, as usual. We pull them all in, and we rip through them in the yards, pull them out, crack the fleeces back on 'em, and we find it necessary to, uh, rivet the fleeces on for a certain period until we can ascertain whether or not the old fleece is taking ` that is to say whether or not the actual graft on to the skin of the sheep if working. Oh, that's too big, Trev! Stuck her on to the wrong side. The one thing that doesn't pay at all well at the moment is buying stock in. We haven't bought any stock in here for about, oh, 15 or 16 years now. When we get our stock, well, we get hold of it here and there, not going into it too deeply. The only person we see a good deal of is the neighbour. Uh, as a matter of fact, we see quite a lot of the neighbour. He's always over here, looking for bits and pieces of his, uh` of his stock. Um, I don't think he's ever found anything ` the ear marks are always whipped straight out, um, the brands are changed and, of course, the serial numbers. I can't see that we'll, uh, be running across him much more often. (GUNSHOT) (COUNTRY CALENDAR THEME) One farmer's problems are never quite the same as those of another. And for this, we should all be thankful. Whatever the future holds, there is one thing on which we can all depend ` their enduring single-mindedness. (COUNTRY CALENDAR THEME CONTINUES) Captions by Jake Ebdale. www.able.co.nz Captions were made possible with funding from NZ On Air. Copyright Able 2017