The Turvey sisters are all smiles. They’re sitting with cups of tea on the verandah of Twamley Farm’s original sandstone homestead. The first Turvey family footsteps wandered their farm back in 1874. Today, they are the custodians of 7,000 acres complete with settler’s huts for quiet moments, trout fishing, mountain bike trails, Tassie devils and accommodation built for drifting off in East Coast history.
It all began in 1823 when John West Turvey stole some sheep and got sent to Van Diemen’s Land. Ten years later when granted a ticket of leave, he settled in Prosser Plains where the Turvey family have been farming ever since. Five members continue to work across agri-business, wrangling young Turveys and hosting visitors.
“Bats were living in The Stable when I started to clean it out,” laughs Elizabeth of the circa 1847 rough-cut sandstone building. “My grandfather was outside waving his walking stick at me as I threw things out the top storey window, assuring me of their value.”
As luck would have it Grandpa had his way with many items that now form the fabric of a beautifully styled historic stay. A large yoke for bullocks hangs against the whitewashed stone and coats can be hung where horse saddles once rested under blue gum timber beams.
The Stable sits beneath century old English oaks, an hour from downtown Hobart. Four horse stalls downstairs have been converted to open plan living, complete with a full kitchen. A cosy wood fire is well matched with a Darlington pinot from up the road. Climb the original stairs to the ‘grain store’ and a queen-sized bed with freestanding bath await. Don’t turn the taps straight away though – down a cobblestoned path is an outdoor tub.
It’s the little touches that make Twamley special. It’s the old Women’s Weekly mags tucked away to giggle over in a hillside hut. It’s the gourmet pre-prepared meals that make a stay easy or the French explorer-inspired picnic hampers on hand for a spot of trout fishing on the farm’s dam. It’s the outdoor fire pot calling for dining in evening country air. It’s the in-house massages and accommodation options ranging from The Storekeeper’s in Buckland to the farm-based Stable, a modern pod for two alongside a glamping tent ideal for little ones. And it’s that authentic farm welcome that has crossed generations of Turvey faces.
Fuel up on local brekkie provisions of homemade muesli and creamy yoghurt, free range eggs and rustic sourdough before stepping out onto the working farm. There’s friends to meet. There’s Frida and Poncho the miniature donkeys and Sheila the sheep who hit international headlines. Sheila took a wayward step on a bush run and returned six years later with an overgrown fleece beamed into homes across Germany, Canada, Japan and the UK. Talk to Elizabeth, who lives with her family in the homestead, if you’re keen to join in farm activities from feeding lambs to visiting the working shearing shed and learning about Sheila and her 2,500 woolley mates.
Hop in the wooden row boat or cast a fly for rainbow trout from the shores of Twamley’s well-stocked dam. There’s also wild trout in the Tea Tree Rivulet and a handy map leading straight to the prime fishing holes. Keep an eye out for birds; a pro-twitcher spotted some 55 different species on a recent farm stay including twelve endemic birds across the gullies, temperate rainforest and varied farm microclimates.
Walk the trails or hop on provided mountain bikes to explore the farm. From the highest peak in the valley, Prosser Sugarloaf, a clear day provides views across the entire peninsula and back to kunanyi/Mount Wellington. On the way, drop in to see the ruins of 1800s settlers hut where families once survived on catching wallabies and possums.
There’s hidden falls and stories trapped in Twamley time. Learn about a WW1 soldier who fathered six children and got about the farm on a wooden leg. Ask after famed 19th century artist and writer Louisa Anne Meredith who once lived in the homestead or about Billy Swan who got caught in a snow storm after a late night walking back from the Buckland Inn. Although taking shelter in the hollow of a tree, he died, found with his loyal dog still by his side.
Beyond the farm gate, there is plenty to explore along the Great Eastern Drive. Maria Island is just a short ferry trip away and historic Richmond and Port Arthur Historic Site are both within easy driving from the Buckland area. Nearby neighbours double as vineyards, freshly shucked oysters are due north and white sand beaches come standard in these parts.
Twamley isn’t just a place to stay though. The sisters busily host events from intimate weddings to Sunday Lunch & Shoot affairs where guests head to the clay target range with a champion shooter followed by long table lunch in the homestead’s Stone Room. It was the original scullery kitchen beneath the homestead and flows out to a garden terrace for cooking over fire pots.
Spend hours or spend days at Twamley. It doesn’t take two minutes to assess the speed of early shearers on the tally boarded walls of the Shearer’s Hut – built from the pine hull of a ship. It doesn’t take a quarter hour to slip into ‘Twamley time’ slow cooking over fire. And it may take days to find Sheila.
Twamley Farm Autumn/Winter Getaway Package for Tailored Tasmania readers:
Stay two nights at Twamley Farm and spend a magical day exploring Maria Island National Park.
Total package at the special price of $650 for two guests between April - July 2019, includes:
Call or email to access special deal:
Address: 431 Twamley Road, Buckland, Tasmania
Mobile: (+61) 0439 114 996
*Words by Alice Hansen, images supplied by Twamley Farm
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