In June 1924, a meeting was held at Kentucky to consider the formation of a growers' co-operative.
In addition to the soldier settlers, the meeting was attended by A. A. Watson, director of Soldier Settlement, and Mick Bruxner, one of two Progressive Party members for the state Northern Tablelands seat.
Harry Freame had been an active supporter of the move to develop a grower's co-operative. Now he expressed reservations.
"Why should I put in a board of directors to run my business, and I pay them to do my work?" he asked. "I can buy my materials as cheap as they can, and get as good a return." This was a substantial challenge, for Harry had considerable influence.
Reading the newspaper report of the meeting, there were two problems that worried the settlers.
The first was membership. Should this be limited to soldier settlers or should other growers be allowed to join? The second was one of scope and costs, the extent to which the co-operative might limit the freedom of growers to run their own businesses.
Both Watson and Bruxner argued strongly in favour of the co-operative.
Bruxner put the matter bluntly. There were six equivalent settlements into NSW alone coming into full production at the same time. Co-operation was needed. On the question of a broader membership, put the rum and milk together was his advice.
The meeting decided to proceed with the co-operative.
While Harry was concerned with farm and settler activities, May Freame's health was deteriorating. She had not recovered from depression and towards the end of 1924 she disappeared from the scene, not returning until 1930. While the exact circumstances are unclear, Tait suggests that she had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.
Josephine had remained a member of the Freame household, joined in 1923 by her son John (Chappie).
Josephine Collins nee Clarke was born at Tenterfield in 1886. She had married a Brisbane surveyor, Walter Collins, with son John born in 1914. That marriage had broken up before she became May's companion and then housekeeper.
While May was away, Harry continued his community involvements. Josephine, too, was active within the community.
A relationship developed between the two. The result was a daughter, Josephine Grace Freame, born in October 1927.
Grace was always recognised as a Freame family member. She was close to her half-brother and father. Later, she accompanied Harry on his annual Anzac Day visit to Sydney.
Jim Belshaw's email is firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at http://newenglandaustralia.blogspot.com.au/ (New England life) and http://newenglandhistory.blogspot.com.au/ (New England history)
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