One of the original aims of white settlement of Bathurst was the testing of various farming methods and crops. As part of this process, two parcels of land were subsequently set aside for ‘experimental farming’.
One was close to the river as these crops would need irrigation. This site is now where Morse Park is. The other site (known for a time as ‘top farm’ then as ‘the experiment farm’) occupied a huge area of land centred on what is now CSU.
In 1895 when these farming activities were growing in significance, there were few, if any, farm buildings on the land and the headquarters for the enterprise was Logan Brae.
The irrigation farm grew vegetables, lucerne and tobacco. Irrigation channels apparently were cut in through lower Durham Street from the river and across the fields towards what is now the showground. A drying shed for the tobacco operated near what is now Kendall Avenue.
It was used in later decades by the Rugby club. In 1952, the Department of Agriculture gave up their lease on that land and Council returned it to recreational use as Morse Park.
The ‘top farm’ became known as the Agricultural Research Station and gradually shed land to bodies such as South Bathurst and Carenne schools, CSU, Forestry Commission, Central Mapping Authority, TAFE and St Stanislaus College (which goes to show the massive extent of the land there in the first place).
This farm concentrated on trialling orchard crops, barley, maize and lucerne.
There is now some discussion about future uses for what remains of this experiment farm and its buildings.