TASTE RURAL LIFESTYLE OF PIONEERS
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.