These images were photographed over an eighteen month period after I received invitation to stay at the family farm of my husband's best man Gerard. Located in the rural area of Mummel in country NSW Australia, the farm had been in the family since 1860 and was 158-159 years old when I photographed it. I leapt at the opportunity to stay in the little old shack that I nicknamed "Mary's Place", one of the several little cottages built on the property for various family members and in which Mary, Gerard's grandmother had lived in for many years. Mary had died about ten years earlier and her little house had remained exactly as she had left it, from her wedding photograph and the old phone books in the living area, to the many baking and cooking ingredients abandoned in the kitchen pantry before her passing. I photographed her home exactly as everything had been left, unquestionably an Alladin's cave for vintage lovers such as myself.
The farmhouse had begun as an original sandstone hut that had grown and been added onto over the years. The only family members left living on the property full time were Gerard's uncle Frank and his partner Trisha (the others had all moved to the city). Frank and Trisha lived in the sandstone part of the main building with a cat they'd found one day on the property, and they leased the land out to a local farmer for sheep grazing. With their permission and Gerard's, I visited the property on several occasions, getting up well before sunrise to venture out into the hills to photograph the sheep, the hawthorn bushes, the swallows and the tired old gum trees before the property was finally sold in 2019 and was finally out of family hands.
Each time I visited I felt as though I hadn't quite shot everything that I wanted to. The landscape changed so much with the seasons and I was always finding something new hidden away in a paddock or in the barn. To me it was a perfect example of early Australian farm life that had evolved through the years, coming to a standstill with the passing of the elderly family matriarch. Gerard and his family now have these photographs to remind them of a time that has passed and will never come again. A time in history that can be viewed with nostalgia and fondness, and with immense respect for their ancestors who for generations tended the land, braved hardship during times of drought and were unequivocally Australian in their lives at the family farm which sadly is, no more.