Thursday, November 23, 2017


Today we were to have headed out to the Whaling Station, but I felt completely exhausted and the though of being on the go all day was a little to much….  After talking to Ian and Kathy, we decided that we would stay in Albany for an extra couple of days.  We had been on the go now since leaving Perth and a day to stop was just what I needed.  
A little time to chill out beside the river
 Ian and Kathy took off to do some exploring of their own, whilst Steve and I spent the morning at the van just chilling out.  We had a few things we wanted to catch up, mainly being our finances, washing, my diary, Checking our maintenance book, and booking our car in to have our tyres rotated.  Just little jobs that needed to be done, but at  least we were now getting a chance to get them done. 

By 11am we actually felt up to going out and doing a little exploring so rather than do a lot, we decided to go visit the “Old Farm – Strawberry Hill”

Funnily enough, we had only just arrived when about 10 minutes later, up wander Ian and Kathy, so we did the tour of the Old Farm together.  

The Old Farm, Strawberry Hill was considered old more than 100 years ago. As far back as 1890 it was given the name ‘The Old Farm’, in recognition of being the oldest farm in Western Australia, established even before the Swan River Colony.

A Government Farm was established at Strawberry Hill in 1827 as part of the first European settlement at King George Sound. In 1833, Sir Richard Spencer was appointed Government Resident at Albany. He purchased the Government Farm and resided there with his wife Ann, seven sons and three daughters. They lived in a pise cottage until, in 1836, the current two-storey stone house was built adjoining the older home. 
This is the small bedroom for the seven boys
The three girls got to share this larger bedroom.
Master Bedroom with bath

By 1836 the well established gardens were producing blood oranges, grapes, raspberries, gooseberries, asparagus, figs and almonds. The new house was the centre of the district’s social life.

After a period of neglect it was purchased in 1889 by Francis and Augusta Maude Bird who restored the house and farmed the land. In 1956 the property was purchased by the Government as an historic monument but fell into another cycle of neglect.  It was then transferred into the hands of the National Trust in 1964,  and now the property is being conserved to appropriately reflect its significance.

Servants cottage
The Main House
  Originally, half the farmhouse's roof was shingled and the other half-covered with slates brought from England. All the timber on the top floor is pit-sawn maple, while the drawing room until the early 1930s, was papered with a wallpaper depicting scenes of South America, lagoons, wild animals and other subjects.
Check out the width and height of that door.....
Another interesting relic in the home is a chest of drawers in the drawing room which is reputed to have belonged to the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

We spent some time wandering through the house and gardens.  The gardens were just beautiful, full of flowering plants and shrubs and very colourful.  We also wandered around the property and had a close look at the servants cottage.  It was interesting to see how it was made.  

All in all this was a wonderful place to visit.  

We all grabbed a late lunch at Subway before heading off to do some more exploring around Albany.  Ian and Kathy went to the old gaol, whilst we went into town and then we met them at the WA Museum Albany.  

The first exhibit we went through was all about the history of Albany as it is the colourful history.  Several European explorer visited Albany shores prior to British settlement. The dutchman François Thijssen in 1627, in 1792 the Frenchman Bruni d'Entrecasteaux, In 1801 Englishman Matthew Flinders and in 1826 Frenchman Dumont d'Urville in the L'Astrolabe visited King George Sound.

 There were displays about the traditional landowners, the whaling, the flora and fauna of the region, the part Albany played in the great wars and in general it was very comprehensive. 
Lighthouse display
From here we walked across to the main museum building and the discovery centre, where we had a look at the light house display and got to see first hand the big lenses that are very similar to the large lenses in the Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouses. 

Upstairs here we vistied an aboriginal shell beading display and even had an interactive go at beading a bracelet ourselves.

Once we had completed our tour through the Discovery Centre we made our way outside and visited the Old School House display where they had several old activities like walking on stilts,  board walking and a Steve had a go on the centripetal pivot.   The Classroom was set up like a classroom that we would have gone to school in over 40 years ago…  They even had some of the old readers that we used when we went to school… talk about bringing back some old memories.  

 We wandered around the grounds and quickly looked at another war museum but after our full day at the National Anzac Centre on Monday we were a little over reading about the war.. very emotional stuff...

 We left here around 3.30pm to head home, first stopping off at the strawberry farm first to pick up some freshly picked strawberries so that we could have some for dinner…. They were enormous and very sweet.  Nothing like freshly picked ripe strawberries. 

It was nice to get home a little earlier than we had been, and just being able to chill out by the river again.  We so needed this quieter paced day today.

Out at the Strawberry Farm
$3.50 for a kilo of these amazing sweet strawberries

 Tomorrow will be full on again as we visit the Whaling Station and the Torndirrup National Park.


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