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Herbert Edward (Herb) Kroehn (1900–1979)

Seventy-eight year old, Mr. Herbert Edward (Herb) Kroehn, a pioneer of the farming industry in this district, did much to give greater knowledge to farmers of the mallee.

He was born in December, 1900 at Forster on the River Murray, and spent his childhood on the family farm at Swan Reach.

The fourth child of Johann Carl Albert and Maria Hedwig Kroehn, Herb's main sporting interest was football. He played for Swan Reach and later became captain of that side. His interest in football was maintained all his life.

In 1923, Herb Kroehn took up what was virtually a scrub block, and much hard work and application of his ideals, turned it into what is still considered a most successful venture.

Later he added two marginal grants to the main farm at Kanni, which is known as 'Karrawatha'.

It was always Mr. Kroehn's contention that no-one really owned their land — it belonged to prosterity, and therefore the use of that land should be conscientiously managed, always remembering to put back more than you take.

It was this philosophy that saw an improved pasture on 'Karrawatha'. During the years 1973-1974, when heavy rainfalls were gauged, the fantastic pastures of medics at the Kroehn farm were approved by the Department of Agriculture, and a great deal of clover seed was harvested. Much of this sent to South Africa and other countries.

In September 1936 Herb married Drusie Claire Stevens in Waikerie Methodist Church. Two daughters, Meredith Claire Arnold and Dorothy Jeanne James-Martin, and two sons Ian Edmund and Peter Richard were born to this union.

Always pleased to promote the sheep industry, Herb became a pioneer in a very successful part of the farm income.

However, sheep breeding was to become Herb Kroehn's forté. After experimenting for many seasons, an improved strain of sheep was achieved and even today this breed is successful for Herb's son Peter, who has taken over 'Karrawatha'.

Herb Kroehn entered his sheep in many shows and won many awards for sheep, lambs and wool. Quite a few of his rivals were stud property owners, who all held Herb Kroehn in high esteem both as a gentleman and a farmer.

It was due to his suggestion that the Lowbank Hogget competitions were held, the result being greater depth of knowledge by local farmers.

Mr. Kroehn always opened his farm for those who wanted to learn about the industry in the Murray Mallee, and ever since the beginning of the Waikerie Kindergarten, he has invited children and parents to see sheep shearing, an adventure the children look forward to every year.

The district has lost a pioneer of the farming industry and a great worker for charities at Waikerie. But Herb Kroehn has left an indelible mark in the annals of Waikerie's history, and will be long remembered.

Original publication

Citation details

'Kroehn, Herbert Edward (Herb) (1900–1979)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

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