As the eldest son it was proposed that I run the farm, but in partnership with a lover of my sister's from Monash, Geoff. Nothing came of the romantic interest because the love was not reciprocated.
Recently graduated with an economics degree, Geoff was working as a teller in the North Melbourne branch of the NAB. Although he knew practically nothing about farming he was anxious to go on the land.
So we met with the Rose River proposition before us and in a couple of months we were milking cows brought from the previous owner of the farm.
Although I don't think I recognised it then, Geoff was thrown in at the deep end having to deal with 5 am starts, recalcitrant cows, providing our own water and electricity and living in a fairly remote area.
However Geoff said nothing, which was unlike him because he was and is articulate, opinionated and an extroverted social animal.
I was and to quite an extent still aim shy, not particularly opinionated and do not communicate particularly easily.
So it was that mainly because of a poor dairy and muddy surrounds - it was July August and the rainfall was well over a metre a year - that we sold the dairy cows and decided to grow potatoes on the fertile river flats instead.
That required a tractor, a moldboard plough, a potato planter and later a harvester and grander. We had also acquired a horse or two and a hundred or so surplus stud Hereford cattle from the Mortlake herd.
When I think back now, for the first time really, I can appreciate the enormous learning load we just lumped on Geoff's shoulders.
He had been appointed coach of the King Valley football team in Whitfield and in that way associated with other farmers who were probably more informative about what we should have been doing than I was.
I don't think I was a know all but I had spent my whole life on the family farm and had been to England to attend agricultural college and study Hereford cattle on their home soil.
Anyway, different as we were we were forced by circumstances to do things together like socialising and almost sharing girlfriends; at one stage our opposite numbers were two friends who were both kindergarten teachers and like us lived together.
So Geoff and I became friends, which must have been a relief to our parents who visited from time to time. And I don't think they thought it strange that we slept in the same bedroom - in separate beds - although today there would be the distinct impression that we were gay.
Anyway the development of that friendship probably stopped Geoff on a number of occasions from confronting me when I had failed to explain how something or other should be done on the farm. However I was doing lots of things new too like learning to operate a bulldozer; we both faced off that monster after previously operating nothing more than a very average farm tractor.
So from partial memory it must have been nearly three years before Geoff lost his temper one day and threw the book at me about my lack of communication.
I can't remember what prompted it, but it might have been a little better after that. In any event after six years, because of financial problems within my family, the Rose River and Mortlake farms had to be sold and Geoff and I parted without having much more than experience to our credit.
In February 2014 Geoff celebrated his 70th birthday. When I asked him if he regretted the years he had spent in the Victorian high country becoming a farmer, he said they were among the best years of his life. Today he is a successful accountant at Dromana. He reckons he is the only accountant on the Mornington Peninsula with a bovine artificial inseminator's certificate.