We are two guys from Perth who bought a tired farm in 2014 in the hills of Bridgetown beside the mighty Blackwood River. In the short time we have been here, we have been seeking to revive and repurpose the farm into both a profitable business and a tourism destination … season by season, a time at a time and with the help of family, friends and the Bridgetown community.
We are two country boys at heart, who have lived and worked in rural communities on and off for much of our lives. We love the outdoors, fishing, growing food crops, gardening, cooking and entertaining.
We have always had a dream that when it was time to retire, we would move to a rural setting, potter in a garden, grow a few veggies as well as the odd fruit tree and take life at a slower pace, so we could appreciate the changing seasons, mother nature and the outdoors.
Although we were nowhere near retirement age, in 2014 we thought it was time to at least begin looking for a potential site. Our thinking was … find a small parcel of rural land, maybe renovate an existing farm house or build something new and then gradually over a number of years plant a few trees, create a few gardens and eventually move into the property permanently. The plan was meant to occur over a 10 to 15 year period but what happened was far from our intentions – we found Little Hill Farm and our world was turned upside-down.
We have been visiting Bridgetown for many years, partly because Adam’s godparents live in the town but also because we have always admired the high rolling hills of Bridgetown which are so different to the red, flat, open spaces one sees across much of Australia. We also knew that the cold temperatures in the region, meant you could grow many trees and plants that are simply not possible in other parts of the state.
It was a crisp but sunny July afternoon and we stumbled upon Little Hill Farm completely by accident. It was pretty much love at first sight, the location was ideal, close to town and beside the Blackwood River with breathtaking, panoramic views of the Blackwood Valley. There was an established orchard with a wide array of fruit and nut trees which were all of production age and it was clear that the previous owners had already spent some 15 years establishing some formal and informal garden areas.
Seeing the property made us realise … even if we found our potential retirement property and commenced to execute our plan immediately, it would take at least 15 years of hard, back breaking work to reach a point similar to the property before us.
We knew in our hearts, that In 5 years, let alone 10 or 15 years time our bodies wouldn’t be able to undertake the heavy labour required to bring a blank canvas to life … especially as we wanted so much, much more than was currently before us.
As we drove back to Perth, all we kept saying to each other was – we’re both too young to retire.
It was when we got back to Perth and the familiar surrounds of our lovingly restored Federation home of some 10 years in the CBD location of Hyde Park, that the real fun began. We determined that the farm was too good an opportunity to let pass and we needed to adapt our long term retirement plan.
It was ridiculous to think that two relatively young men could retire completely and simply become country gentlemen of leisure for the next 30, 40 or 50 years – besides being very boring, it would no doubt be soul destroying for both of us. Accordingly we created a sustainable, economic business plan and began our journey into what has become Little Hill Farm.