Old Farm Strawberry Hill

Old Farm Strawberry HillNeil McKnight668 x 380 px. 105.9 Kb.

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Old Farm Strawberry Hill

The 'Old Farm' Strawberry Hill is West­ern Australia's oldest farm, established in 1827 for grow­ing vegetables for the soldiers and ear­ly settlers of Albany, then known as Fredericks Town.

In 1831, a wattle and daub cottage was con­struc­ted by Dr Alexan­der Collie, the first Gov­ern­ment Re­sid­ent, for a visit by Governor Stirl­ing.

In 1833, Sir Richard Spencer was appo­in­ted Gov­ern­ment Re­sid­ent, and a larger two-story stone build­ing was com­missioned to house the 21 mem­bers of his fam­ily and servants.

Spencer brought merino sheep, cattle, horses other livestock, along with plants, fruit tree cuttings and seeds and pioneered farm­ing methods suit­able to the local terra­in and clim­ate.

The Old Farm ex­pan­ded to over 52 hectares, successful­ly grow­ing blood oranges, grapes, raspberries, gooseberries, asparagus, figs, almonds and vegetables.

The new homestead, com­­ple­ted in 1836, became the centre of the dist­rict's social life.

Sir Spencer died in 1839, and short­ly thereafter his wife and fam­ily re­turned to the UK. The Old Farm was sold to the Bird fam­ily in 1889 and worked off and on un­til 1964 when it was purchased by the National Trust.

The Old Farm became the centre of the dist­rict's social life.

Today the Old Farm is a popular de­st­in­ation for visitors.

The 1.2-hectare pro­perty features beautiful and historic gardens, con­ta­in­ing some of the orig­inal fruit trees. The main house is re­stored and re­furnished with some of the orig­inal furnit­ure of the Spencer and Bird families.

Outbuildings in­clude a cottage built by Charles Miner in 1870, sheds, stables and a barn con­ta­in­ing artifacts and mach­in­ery. There is an outside stage area for per­form­ance and group activi­ties.

Volunteers are on hand to answer questions.

Article updated 29/10/2016.