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Longerenong Agricultural College

Mark Twain visited the college October 17, 1895.

About noon the Clemenses took an open carriage ride of eight miles with T.K. Dow and others to Longerenong Agricultural College, to share tea with 40 students. Livy and Clara received flowers and candy at the school, and they watched the sophomores shear a dozen sheep. In FE, Ch. XXIII p.224-6, Sam wrote of the drive out to the college, the temperature 92 degrees yet he felt no heat, “the air was fine and pure and exhilarating.” Sam goes on to describe the 40 pupils as mostly “young men mainly from the cities — novices” of “good stuff...above the agricultural average of intelligence.” (MTDBD)

"Established in 1889 by the Council of Agricultural Education, we opened our doors with an enrolment of just 20 students. Original courses were aimed at the sons of farmers who required the equivalent of second year of high school to enrol. Exams were held on Saturday mornings and farm work and classes were often held at night and on weekends. With a strict “lights out” at 10pm rule, no alcohol allowed on the premises and mandatory attendance at church, students would eagerly await the monthly dances, when a busload of girls would arrive from Horsham."

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“It was long believed that fruit trees would not grow in that baked and waterless plain around Horsham, but the agricultural college has dissipated that idea. Its ample nurseries were producing oranges, apricots, lemons, almonds, peaches, cherries, 48 varieties of apples—in fact, all manner of fruits, and in abundance. The trees did not seem to miss the water; they were in vigorous and flourishing condition.” [FTE]

“A man who is ignorantly trying to produce upon his farm things not suited to its soil and its other conditions can make a journey to the college from anywhere in Australia, and go back with a change of scheme which will make his farm productive and profitable.” [FTE]

“The depression had reduced the college's income from the state and from it's agricultural tenants, many of whom could not pay their rents. The calamitous drought at the time of the Clemenses' visit contributed to the distress of the college and within two years it would be forced to close until the middle of the next decade.” [Cooper pg 109]

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