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.