Your hosts Stuart and Noeleen purchased the 260 acre property in 1996 from the then disbanding Albury/Wodonga Development Corporation and as we say had a “blank slate” in front of us. No water, power or house was on the property and a road to the top of the ridge had to be created.
After adding some cattle to graze the paddocks we hired a dozer for roads, dams, plus house & shed sites. The shed was erected first and then by late 1997 we were living in our rammed earth octagonal home. At this stage we also tried to grow water chestnuts but this while successful was not going to be an easy product to market. We then decided on 200 Sweet Persimmon trees and these along with quince trees are still in the orchard in 2012.
We have through all these projects been conscious of “recycle/re-use” especially with our home, so when Stuart suggested we diversify again and built accommodation cottages they also were going to blend lovingly into the environment – hence being made from Red gum sleepers and other magnificent timbers from the region.
The cottages have been a very satisfying addition but we were always happy to grow the old way by “word of mouth” – it is now 10 years on from when the first cottage “Bluewren” was opened in early 2002, “Treecreeper” was ready later that year and they now bring an enjoyable balance to our lives. The farm after the severe droughts in 2004 through to 2008 also had us rethink our farming practices so hence the reduction of cattle and the introduction of the shedding sheep breed for meat only. This had also added an interest for our accommodation customers because there are often lambs in the house yard needing to be hand fed.