TASTE RU­RAL LIFESTYLE OF PI­O­NEERS

The Advocate (Perth) - - RESIDENTIAL - Keren Bel­los

WIND back the clock a few cen­turies to WA’s set­tle­ment years, a time when this prop­erty’s own­ers faced the chal­lenges of keep­ing neigh­bours’ de­struc­tive pigs out of the gar­den and trav­el­ling long dis­tances on horse­back to get med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

While the world has moved on, Wood­bine Es­tate pro­vides a snapshot of the past, with orig­i­nal in­fra­struc­ture and prospect of a self-suf­fi­cient ru­ral lifestyle as achiev­able as it was for farm­ing pi­o­neers in the late 1800s.

The 80ha prop­erty with beau­ti­ful Moore River frontage in the small Wheat­belt town of Re­gans Ford, about 110km north of Perth, is on the market and ready for new own­ers to make their own history at the farm.

Sell­ing agent Adam Shields, who spe­cialises in ru­ral, hor­ti­cul­ture and lifestyle prop­er­ties in the Dan­dara­gan and Gin­gin shires, said buy­ers had a rare op­por­tu­nity to own a his­toric farm with a hab­it­able set­tler’s cot­tage near the city and coast.

“Back in the early days, they only se­lected the best prop­er­ties to de­velop a self-suf­fi­cient lifestyle,” he said.

“Wood­bine Es­tate is a great ex­am­ple of WA her­itage, fully ren­o­vated and main­tained to the day.

“It of­fers a great coun­try lifestyle, with the new own­ers able to en­joy fresh wa­ter to drink, mar­ron to catch and kan­ga­roo and rab­bit to eat, as well as fresh pas­ture for their cat­tle to graze on.

“The prop­erty also boasts one of only two his­toric home­steads on the river that are live­able.”

Au­thor WJ de Burgh in Neer­gabby: A History of the Moore River and Lower Gin­gin Brook re­ported Thomas Bandy, who hailed from Eng­land, achieved his dream of land own­er­ship when he bought a prop­erty on the banks of a rich swamp in 1886.

Hart­ley Bowen built many homes in the area at the time in­clud­ing the Wood­bine house, be­lieved to be the first on the river with an iron roof.

Tim­ber from the Se­abird ship­wreck was used in its con­struc­tion and can to­day be seen over the door­ways and in the rafters.

The shear­ing shed, pig sty and wind­mill are also orig­i­nal fea­tures at the prop­erty, where Mr Bandy and his wife Martha raised 12 chil­dren while help­ing de­velop other land­hold­ings in the area.

Mr de Burgh said Mrs Bandy was known for hav­ing a very de­ci­sive and forth­right char­ac­ter while he re­counted tales of pesky pigs and long jour­neys to the doc­tor.

“Many a bat­tle royal raged be­tween Mrs Bandy and (neigh­bour) Ed­ward Re­gan when his pigs raided her gar­den.

“But per­haps the best il­lustration of her for­ti­tude is found in the story that she rode her horse all the way from Wood­bine to the doc­tor at Guild­ford, some 73 miles, with her in­fant son Joseph, who was very ill, in a bas­ket across the front of her sad­dle,” he said.

The trip was a success, with

Joseph liv­ing well into his nineties and a young Mr Shields hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to meet him.

Wood­bine Es­tate is to­day home to the Ja­cob­sens, who have en­joyed the coun­try lifestyle since 2010.

Hail­ing from a farm­ing background, they wanted to give their two chil­dren the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence both sub­ur­ban and ru­ral liv­ing.

“It is a won­der­ful place to switch off from the busy city life,” Mr Ja­cob­sen said.

“Its prox­im­ity to Perth and not be­ing too hot in sum­mer or too cold in win­ter makes it pos­si­ble to en­joy it all year round.

“We have en­joyed many birthdays, Easter, Christ­mas and New Year cel­e­bra­tions on the farm.

“We have also had fam­ily and friends from over­seas come up and ex­pe­ri­ence the ru­ral tran­quil­lity Wood­bine has of­fered us over the years.

“In fact, we have kept a guest book for all the years we have been there.”

The Ja­cob­sens have spent a lot of time im­prov­ing the prop­erty, in­clud­ing re­ju­ve­nat­ing the soil, sow­ing peren­ni­als in the lighter soil, build­ing and re­plac­ing live­stock fences, and main­tain­ing the cot­tage.

The ren­o­vated four-bed­room, two-bath­room home now over­looks a spring-fed lake and there is also a two-bed­room, two-bath­room trans­portable, shear­ing and util­ity sheds, be­low-ground swim­ming pool, pad­docks, stock yards, two bores, bil­l­abongs and a creek on the land.

Black An­gus cat­tle roam the river flats and peren­nial pas­tures.

Like the Bandys, the Ja­cob­sens en­joy farm-fresh pro­duce in­clud­ing eggs, veg­eta­bles, fruit and berries.

With their chil­dren hav­ing reached young adult­hood and as fre­quent over­seas trav­ellers, the Ja­cob­sens are now sell­ing Wood­bine.

“The prop­erty suits a pro­fes­sional fam­ily, re­tir­ing farm­ers, ru­ral en­thu­si­asts and any buyer with a love for the great out­doors and the rich history WA has to of­fer,” Mr Shields said.

The two 40ha ti­tles com­pris­ing Wood­bine can be sold sep­a­rately.

An open day, in­clud­ing sausage siz­zle, will be held from 10.30am to 1.30pm on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 8.

Buy­ers have un­til 4pm on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 9 to ex­press their in­ter­est.

Above: Wood­bine Es­tate to­day is a won­der­ful place to switch off from the busy city life. Be­low: Wood­bine Es­tate in the early days.

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