The property was originally granted in the 1820s to the Reeves family, from Scotland although it was not called ‘Ferniehurst’ at this stage. The only chattels the Reeves’ brought with them were two windows, two doors and a still. There’s a very faint drawing in red ochre on the shed wall of the still in action. Hard to see as it’s more than 175 years old but there appears to be plumes of steam coming out of the top.
Here is a more modern version of what it would have looked like.
About three years later the property was bought by the Kerrs of Ferniehirst Castle, Scotland. The castle is still owned by the Kerr family. Check it out at http://www.ferniehirst.com/
The farm sheds were built by convicts in the 1820s with sandstone quarried on site. They were built facing south as the Scotsmen hadn’t yet discovered that the sun faces the other way in the Southern Hemisphere. They should have built them facing north for more pleasant working conditions, especially in winter!
The original farm cottage was built in the farmyard on the banks of the White Kangaroo River. This is one of the original windows that the Reeves bought with them from Scotland and still have the original leather hinges attaching it to the window frame.
The window can be seen on the right hand side of the cottage, seen here in the foreground. In 1911 the Calverts bought the farm and built what is now our farm house up on the hill. They initially grew hops, with only one plant still growing yearly outside our kitchen window! Later they planted 40 acres of orchards, including apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines and quinces. Some of these still bear fruit today.
John’s parents, John and Marjorie Marshall bought ‘Ferniehurst’ in 1950 and it has been in the Marshall family ever since.
Recently ‘Ferniehurst’ featured in a new book written by well known Australian photographer Andrew Chapman, author of, amongst others, ‘Woolsheds’, ‘Around the Sheds’ and ‘Working Dogs’. His new title ‘The Farm’ is now available online and from all good bookshops.
There are two photographs in the book of our farm ‘Ferniehurst’, one taken inside a rather messy farm shed, the other a drawing in red ochre on the wall of our shed of a sailing ship, which Andrew refers to as “convict era graffiti”. See his website for more about what he still finds in our rapidly disappearing Australian rural landscape.
Little Lamb is a short movie filmed on ‘Ferniehurst’ as well as the Kangaroo Bluff Battery in Bellerive (as a prison) by director and producer Heidi Lee Douglas in 2012. It is a gothic film about the stark realities of life as experienced by many women in the convict era. See link below for more information.