Homestead offers warm welcome
Belinda and her uncle Brian Turner came to Oakabella about a year ago.
“We were on holidays in July last year,” Belinda said. “Brian and I came out to have a look, fell in love with the place, then saw a little for sale sign in a window, for this business.”
“Where did you come from (originally)?” I asked.
“I came from Canberra,” Brian said.
“I’m from Busselton,” Belinda said. Bella, their rescued dog, joined in the camera shoot as we spoke.
“We were involved the last 10 years in Busselton in tourism, operating camp sites there and I was doing photography as well,” Belinda said.
“However, the outlook here is going to be amazing. We are planning to change up a little bit (with a) few concerts, music events and weddings —just to draw everyone out here.
“(We are) just waiting to see what the next year brings as this one was beyond our expectations.”
Oakabella is certainly country and at its present state is pretty dry and windswept, with the November and December southerlies sweeping in from the Indian Ocean.
Brian and Belinda are great hosts. As well as enjoying their homemade scones, jam and cream we were treated to many varieties of tea in the old style with a tea pot and tea leaves in fine china cups.
It reminded me of when I was a kid at the farm Womarden, in the 1940s at Three Springs.
Mum and Dad had nothing flash then, except fine china cups, a tea pot and a lace table cloth.
Tea was made with leaves from the bushels tea tin and left to draw using rain water.
It was a ceremony to relieve the poverty and stress of those days. Of course this is not the case here but fond memories were recalled.
Here is the story of the place as written by the Northampton Shire.
“The Oakabella pastoral lease, originally consisting of 50,000 acres of which 8000 were freehold, was initially taken up by James Drummond in the mid-1850s.
“The Oakabella Homestead, which stands on the Oakabella River, has been continuously lived in since its construction.
“The west end of the shearing shed, which still houses much original equipment, was originally used as stables for race horses and horse breeding for the Indian Raj.
“In 1871 James Drummond, whose brother John Drummond took up the White Peak pastoral lease, sold Oakabella to Lockier Burges Jnr.
“The property was later purchased by S.R.L. Elliot who also owned the adjoining Yarra property. The homestead is situated close to the route of the GeraldtonNorthampton railway line which was constructed in 1879 — indeed there was a siding located on the property.
“Like the other pastoral leases in the region, Oakabella was purchased by the government for closer settlement around the turn of the century. Since then the property has been greatly subdivided.
“Over the years many social dances have been held in the barn, which was also used as a school.”
There is not much garden greenery yet at this interesting meeting of the past and present; however, Belinda has plans to bring in roses along the sheltered north side of some buildings.
Not only will they look good, but they will do well up against the whitewashed walls.
Belinda and her uncle Brian Turner with Bella the rescue dog.