Sunday, April 05, 2009

Bella Vista - And I'm not Just Talking About the Ice Cream Dude

Clare and I had a little walk up to Bella Vista Farm Homestead today as the local historical society was having an open day and offering a rare opportunity to go beyond the cyclone fence and actually have a look at the place. I've posted before as there's a nice path and doggy walk up there and it's an easy 2km round trip.

The interior of the house is less spectacular and still undergoing restoration by volunteers so it's a slow process. I was hoping to 'snap' something spooky on this stairwell, it certainly looked ghoulie!

The fireplace has had a renno but the floorboards
and wall coverings are in need of some TLC.
The house was actually inhabited until 1954

It's a ramshackle collection of buildings and outhouses in various states of restoration on a lovely block of land swathed by suburbs and light industrial estates but rather sweet. There's an old stone homestead and today, there were animals and re-enactments by badly dressed and pathetically rehearsed volunteers. These I imagine are the military version of amateur dramatics groups who forget their drill as quickly as the amateur thespian forgets his lines.

There was colonial music that sounded pecularly Irish, arts and crafts of a very amateur and 'local' nature, bad hand knits and paintings that your three year old could outdo. Also the local enthusiasts wood-turning and showing off their faithfully restored steam engines and a swag of green polo shirted 'Friends of Bella Vista' only too willing to chat about it's history. I almost have enough grey hair and a bottom big enough to join these enthusiastic ladies who's moleskin trousers are so tight you can see the lace trim on their knickers through the fabric.

There was a shearing demo but we were a little early and having seen it done many times before, didn't hang around for the main event. (It's a man, shearing a sheep . . .not Cirque du Soliel)

What made it so lovely was the very fact that it was remarkably unspectacular, incredibly ordinary and beautifully banal. Like a little country fair somewhere in rural NSW where nobody put in too much effort but everyone had fun anyway. Somewhere you could take your kids, your dog and your deck chair and enjoy the chat and the sunshine!

You know what made this so gorgeous, the very fact that it was tacky, amateur, homely and simply. No fancy stalls, no showbags, no pretention or money grabbing. Entry was by donation of a gold coin. Most people seemed to know or recognise each other. Everyone wanted to pat the dog. The 'soldiers' threatened to eat Lily for lunch and terrified any unruly youngsters and were only too willing to pose for photos (erm I refrained).

Normally closed in by cyclone fence to deter vandals, today, Bella Vista farm, once the home of Merino breeding John and Elizabeth Macarthur and then to the orange growing Pearce family, it was open to the public.

Loads of little photographic gems in nooks and crannies,
more on Flickr if you're into that sort of thing

You can see the encroachment of suburbia on these almost 200 year old
timbers that were once the dairy.

Not quite the calibre of baa-lamb that they brought to the colony but hey, they keep the grass down. Don't you just wanna go 'baaaaaa' . . .each had names like Fleecity,Baabara and Shaun . .so original we Australians, so original . . .

An attempt to add 'props' to one of the barns proved effective with plastic onions but somehow came asunder with the visibility of zips and the impossibility of a pair of Dutch clogs?

Magestic . . .Moreton Bay fig trunks next to a rather less majestic corrugated iron dunny At least their chooks didn't turn into emus and kick that one down

"Struth Joy, lift yer bloody game, I'm spinnin' faster than a flamin' funnel web!"

So you love a man in uniform do you? Even a Redcoat? Well feast your eyes on THIS!

"Right lads, shape up, we're on public view here so
tighten yer belts, we're gonna be flat out like a bunch of lizards drinkin"
"Bruce do I poke this long thin thing into this other long thin thing?"
(please enlarge this one because I think it's the funniest thing I've seen all week)

"Crikey boys, get some synergy going here! You lot couldn't drive a greasy stick up a dog's arse!"

Gratuitous shot of a very handsome ice cream man
. .they never looked like that when I was a kid!
And no I didn't take this one, remember who I had with me?

As we prepare for our Royal Easter Show (yes I'm being dragged along next weekend to battle the armies of strollers, sticky kids and avenues daubed with cow poo) for a day of produce, pets, farm beasties and fireworks - this was a cute and quiet distraction just a quick walk from home on a fabulously sunny autumn day.


Mrsupole said...

Thank you so much for taking us along on this walk. I really enjoyed it. It is nice that they are restoring the place and hopefully it will never go into disrepair. It is great that we have historial societies that have taken these jobs on.

In the early 70's my mom bought a house that had been the first one built in that city. They spent many years restoring and fixing things there. She sold it in the late 90's and then finally the historial society sanctioned the house. It is about 30 miles east of Los Angeles.

I love to see historial houses and buildings.

I loved the pictures and englarged the one, the kid looking at you taking his picture was hilarious, plus black sneakers to boot. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day.

God bless.

Ronda Laveen said...

I have a Bella Vista just a few miles from me. It is a little community at the north end of Deschutes Rd. The community at the south end is name Palo Cedro. I worked out there for 12 years.

Moleskin pants? Are you sure? We use moleskin to make corn pads. Those sure are some big a** fig trees!!! Is that an earring in the left ear of the middle "soldier" in the enlarged photo? Boy George, I think it is!

Ronda Laveen said...

Oh yeah, computer down for a day and a half. The mouse died. Moment of silence. Off to read my favorite: Friday Fukwit!

Leah said...

I really like the spooky stairs. Am now trying to imagine the bad hand-knits!

Grannymar said...

Sounds like you enjoyed the outing with Clarebear & your camera to Bella Vista.

What is Harry Secombe of the Goons doing in the middle of the soldiers pic? I love the expression on the face of the young lad on the right it is priceless.

Miles McClagan said...

I love when people say something needs some TLC, I always think the band of that name are going to come around and sing a song about how much men suck in front of a broken down house or something...

It makes me laugh like this joke

"We used to call Grandad Spiderman. Not because he was a superhero, he just couldn't get out of the bath"

Anonymous said...

Baino, well done! It's like I'm there along side. Reminds me of all the castles and Roman ruins I used to explore, when I lived in (West)Germany. But no re-enactments...

Brian Miller said...

great pics and your descriptions...what made it lovely...remarkably unspecatacular. sometimes it is the simple that can be so fascinating. have fun next weekend as well. can;t wait to read...

Candie Bracci said...

This must have been really cool.
Beautiful pictures here!
(and ice cream man...)
Have a great sunday :)

Candie Bracci said...

P.S:the kind blooger award is at my place for you to get!

Melissa said...

Looks like a fun day! And what a cool place to investigate -- do they have plans to redo the whole building? *Love* the shots of the guys with their swords!! :D And the woollies of course.

Susan said...

Love the photos: I feel I was there! It looks like a great day out.

steph said...

"I almost have enough grey hair and a bottom big enough to join these enthusiastic ladies"


Loved this post! Thanks for a great laugh, Baino.

I take it Lily is back on form?

steph said...

"I almost have enough grey hair and a bottom big enough to join these enthusiastic ladies"


Loved this post! Thanks for a great laugh, Baino.

I take it Lily is back on form?

steph said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Baino!

I enjoyed your witty observations! Glad you had a relaxing time :)

Baino said...

It was a sweet day Mrsupole. Very amateurish and the poor old house has had quite a history of vandalism and disrepair so restoring it is a huge task but it's getting there.

Ronda I loved that pic, they're such funny looking blokes and the spotty youth with the grumpy face! I guess some people just love doing that sort of thing on the weekend. "Moleskin" is a very heavy cotton drill and usually beige in colour.

Oh Leah . . the most awful coloured jackets and mittens,clearly made from left over bits of yarn! You wouldn't be seen dead in them - honest!

Granny mar they were more like Dad's Army than their costumes betray!

Miles, your mind works in unusual ways! Frankly I'd have preferred TLC to the 'diddlee dees'

Subby unfortunately, because we're such a new country a lot of our older buildings (until Georgian times) were built in timber and have long suffered from the heat and humidity. The only historical things remaining tend to be Sydney Sandstone. . .no grand castles or Roman ruins here!

True Brian, it was quite a 'community' event and just a short walk from home.

Candie, the ice cream man was very cute indeed!

Melissa I think so. We have a policy of 'restoration' rather than rebuilding here which hampers how things can be restored. Where possible they have to use the original materials or match with similar so it can be a long haul. There's talk of turning into a restaurant although I don't think the current floorboards could take it!

Wel just a couple of hours actually Susan, that's how small and ordinary it was!

Steph it's true, they all looked like grey haired Venus of Willendorf! Very officious! Yes, Lily's back to her usual wiggly self.

Thanks Cinnamon. I've resolved to fill my quiet Sundays with some sort of excursion even if it's just up the garden path!

TCL said...

Lovely outing it looks like. Just a day out with the kids.

The Valpo photos weren't smog. It's fog and very typical Pacific Coast weather actually. We get the same in California. Fog in the morning and sun in the afternoon.

Megan said...

I'm talking about the ice cream dude. Hottie!


Thanks for the photos of the little neighborhood fest. I hope the restoration continues - looks like the place is worth it!

kj said...

baino, oh that tree trunk! i'm starting to think you have trees i want to hug...

i like that you liked the ordinary-ness of this fair and day--just strolling along with your daughter and letting the what-ever world come your way.


River said...

I love wandering through big old mansions like that. Over here in Adelaide we have Carrick Hill, (not sure who it used to belong to,) where the medieval fair is held every year. I went once with my daughter and her best friend, but haven't gone since. It was a fun day, but expensive. I agree with you on the dutch clogs and zippers being wrong there, a little research abd effort could have had them displaying something far more authentic. It does look like the weather was perfect for the day though.

Baino said...

Hi Ted! Aha, must be the sea air! We don't see much fog down here!

Hey, a cat can look at a king . . guess whoe queued for the ice creams! Yum . .and I'M talking about the vendor not the choc top!

Pretty cool the old Moreton Bay fig trees kj. These have been around a long, long time.

River it's still a bit of a mess but I guess a slow process when you rely on volunteers. Hopefully they'll do something with it. Oooh Medieval faire, that sounds like fun.

laughingwolf said...

nice old place, i'm a huge fan of rock, masonry... and wood :D

i beati said...

And the imagination ran wild I bet.. looks like a fun diversion..

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Sounds like a grand day out and you captured some great shots there, Baino! Off to check out Flickr in a mo!

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