There's a little piece of history just a couple of kms walk from my house. Before development, we used to exit the back paddock on Laurie and Chippy and gallop the entire length up to Bella Vista farm. A decrepit and dilapidated old homestead with rickety old wooden buildings purported to be the original Seven Hills Post Office and the relative outhouses of a once attractive farmhouse. Clare do you remember galloping along this line of Norfolk Pines from the Norbrick site up to the house?
Norfolk pines were planted by settler farmers to define their ridges and driveways. Elizabeth probably rode her horse drawn sulky along this same path in 1801. In today's PC society however, apparently there are hidden dangers that require a bright yellow sign:
The property is now cyclone fenced to prevent trespassers and vandals but akshully Labradorz duznt readz good.
They're only a mild irritation to a determined 'let's pretend I'm a photographer' as well . . .
John and Elizabeth Macarthur (John being credited with bringing the Merino to Australia from Spain) farmed sheep on this property in addition to their properties at Camden and Parramatta. The untold history is that John, partial to duelling and being recalled to England to account for his bad behaviour, on more than one occasion, left his enterprising wife Elizabeth in charge of the farms . . she is rarely credited with the work done in introducing wool as a major industry to the colony. He was sold the land by an emancipated convict called Fovaux in 1801 and farmed it until its sale in 1821, preferring the vaster and less wooded Camden property.
When Clare and I first started riding up here, these sheds were covered in cobwebs and still had signs of life from over 70 years ago within their walls. Old mouldy saddles and yokes, boots, workbenches, pots and pans, tools and shears, 1920's magazines and newspapers . .it was a weird wonderland but we never thought to souvenir them. We just loved the musty 'oldness' of the place. We did hitch our horses to a hitching rail so old I bet they could feel the vibe of years gone by. Come to think of it, they were a bit spooked by the place.
I must admit, I never really understood the obsession Australians had for corrugated iron, it's everywhere. (Tin Roof's Rusty - think Love Shack!)
In the 1890s, Edward Henry Pearce of Bella Vista was declared the "largest and most successful orange grower in the colony." Bella Vista was sold by the Pearces in 1950. The old stables below were still being used about 10 years ago when the place was an agistment property. (God that's a nice accidental shot through a piece of wire 3 x 3 cm, Ken Duncan eat yer heart out - no photoshop retouch there yer mug! . . The rest of you may applaud now!)
The homestead and old farm buildings are now being preserved. No longer can we freely walk up to it's back door due to building works and the installation of the protective fence. It's now owned by the Baulkham Hills Shire Council and The Friends of Bella Vista Farm Park are working actively to achieve the restoration of the site, they spied me suspiciously wondering the perimeter whilst sitting in their plastic bunnings chairs and having vegemite sandwiches for lunch.
There were of course bees, happily gathering pollen from the daughter of a 200 year old citrus . . the leaf looks quite different to that of modern orange trees but the blossom smell was unmistakable.
There are several massive Moreton Bay Figs in the garden. Due to the limitations of the fence, I couldn't capture the huge tree in its entirety without it looking like it's surrounded by wire (which it is), just enough to show it's gargantuan roots. These are romantic roots (stop giggling) . They're the sort you want to lay a picnic rug between and schnoox with someone special on a balmy summer evening . . . Seriously, there's nothing nicer! Trust me I've done it . . more than once . . .ahem! Can you see the kookaburra?
The historical significance was lost on Lily who saw her first sheep! Very impressed but they were fortunately protected by said cyclone fence and despite their objections, remained untouchable.
She did have more success meeting up with some friends and managed to roll in something foul smelling although neglected to notice the pond of putrid water thank goodness or she'd have been in like Flynn!
And that brings me to Henry . . .I think I have a crush on Henry, we've met a few times walking our pampered pooches . . . the little black Kelpie cross is his - he's adorable and ever so friendly (the Kelpie although so is Henry), the rough collie . . .*sob* belongs to his wife! Who is a 'show dog' person hence it's incredibly flooofy fur and aloof demeanour . . unlike Henry who is so cute I just wanna bring him home! For a steak dinner you understand.
Ahem . .back to the history lesson . . .Part of this land was later acquired by the Pearce family and became known as Bella Vista. The suburb that now surrounds the farmhouse is named Bella Vista. This real estate is so expensive that recent attempts to name our development area "Bella Vista Meadows" rather than the more mundane "Kellyville" met with violent objection from the residents who felt their little enclave would be 'devalued' if absorbed into a greater area. Snobs! Frankly, why anyone would pay up to 2.3 million to have a view of a fake fountain and a light industrial estate is beyond me. You can click on this to see just about where our five acre street lies in comparison. You can see what I mean about the encroachment of suburbia.
I wonder what John and Elizabeth Macarthur would make of all this?