Fa­gan Park

Monthly Chronicle - - What’s On - Jenny Bar­lass

Fa­gan Park is an at­trac­tion of two halves - the parks, the gar­dens in­clud­ing an eco gar­den, the walks, the bike rides on sealed paths, lakes, kiosk and pic­nics ar­eas. Then there’s the his­tor­i­cal side, man­aged by Friends of Fa­gan Park, a group of re­tirees in­tent on pre­serv­ing lo­cal trea­sures.

Put the two to­gether and this 55 hectares is the the an­ti­dote to the dig­i­tal age, the place to slow down, take a gen­tle stroll and most im­por­tantly get a glimpse of yes­ter­day.

On a visit I saw things at the Park’s charm­ing Ed­war­dian homestead Netherby which hur­tled me back to child­hood vis­its to my grand­mother’s house: a laun­dry cop­per, a mesh­cov­ered meat­safe, a wall-mounted wind up phone.

Out­side hud­dled around this grace­ful old home is a col­lec­tion of wooden build­ings hous­ing a size­able col­lec­tion of mem­o­ra­bilia all things farm and ve­hi­cle re­lated: a 1000 egg in­cu­ba­tor, a fruit grad­ing ma­chine, all man­ner of scythes, trac­tors, sulkys and an old petrol bowser. The prize pieces in my mind were the two ve­hi­cles: a 1927 Chevro­let and a 1932 Ley­land Hub truck.

“The Park was a sin­gle par­cel of land farmed as a cit­rus or­chard and Jersey dairy be­fore owner Bruce Fa­gan gifted it to the state gov­ern­ment in 1979,” ex­plains Friends of Fa­gan Park and mu­seum cu­ra­tor Ian Brown­ing. “To­day it is un­der the cus­to­di­an­ship of Hornsby Coun­cil.

“Last week we had 88 year 2 kids come through and they loved the in­ter­ac­tive items like the wind up gramo­phone and the man­ual cash reg­is­ter,” said Ian. “These are items they'll never again see in their life­time so it’s im­por­tant we tell them about the past.”

There’s also a black­smith’s, tack room, fruit pack­ing shed, a trac­tor and car shed, dairy mu­seum and an agri­cul­tural mu­seum all packed with es­sen­tial im­ple­ments for farming 100 years ago. Most are sourced from the sur­round­ing dis­trict: some re­stored trac­tors were used in WW2.

“We have a col­lec­tion which doesn’t have an equal in the Syd­ney area. We get about 160,000 vis­i­tors a year but we rely on Coun­cil to pay our bills. We want to en­cour­age more vis­i­tors to this snap­shot of agri­cul­tural his­tory that needs pre­serv­ing.”

Jenny Bar­lass with Ian Brown­ing and the 1932 Ley­land Hub truck

Some of the re­tiree Friends re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing the place to­gether, with Cu­ra­tor Ian Brown, fourth from left.

Fa­gan Park

Cash reg­is­ter

Ian Brown­ing with the wind-up phone

Petrol bowser

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