Home­stead offers warm wel­come

Midwest Times - - FRONT PAGE - Stan Ma­ley To share your Ger­ald­ton gar­den with read­ers, call Stan Ma­ley on 0428 230 029.

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.

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