Friday, 10 May 2019

Easter, Down on the Farm

7am, Good Friday morning, saw me heading south out of town, in very welcome drizzle. My destination was yet again Afterlee and the farm mentioned in my previous post.

The drive down had been glorious in total contrast to the February drive of brown, drought stricken vistas. Some good falls had fallen in the previous couple of weeks and I was witnessing the 'miracle' of rain. My spirits soared and I was on a high from all the glorious green now before me. This 'happiness' stayed with me all weekend.

Arriving at 'Locheil'.
The deciduous trees, planted on my Uncle's 70th birthday, shouted out "welcome"! [Note the wet road!]

The planting of the trees took place on 26 March 1991.
One for each sibbling. Deciduous for our Scottish / Irish heritage. My Father's name is John McNeil Montgomery Cullen.

My Grandfather took up a selction here in 1904 and named it 'Locheil'. Grandfather married Helen Montgomery on the 5 August 1914. They had 3 sons and 1 daughter. Sadly, Grandma Helen died towards the end of the 2nd World War. Aunty Alyce had moved to Queensland to work as a teacher and Grandfather divided the farm into 3 farms for his sons. The original property was 1 256 mostly hilly acres. Of that 800 were rainforest with the remainder open blue gum forest.

My Dad

Aunty Alyce

Uncle Jim

Uncle Stan

The three brothers after the war.

The first Cullen Clan gathering was for Uncle Stan's 70th, at the long table under the Camphor Laurel trees, in front of Locheil's original home.

The next gathering was to celebrate the 100th birthday of Locheil, but being Cullens, it took us a year to organise the event for the 26 December 2005.

It is sad to note that on this occasion Uncle Stan was the only sibbling still living.

In March 2001, we had a huge gathering of his family and friends to celebrate Uncle Stan's 90th year.

The family gathering.

Cousin Robert, Uncle Stan's son, is now custodian of Locheil and on the occasion of the Murray Scrub gathering, extended the invitation to us all, to feel free to visit at any time.

Robert was away over Easter. Much as I would have loved to have had the time with Robert, this allowed me to totally relax and do just what I wanted when I wanted. That rarely happens, so pure bliss.

I had brought a craft project, a sewing machine to sew my Grandson's Quiet Book, DVD's, books and most imprtantly my camera and a tripod.

Arriving soon after midday, I set up a work area on the verandah, with views over the Camphor Laurels and Bouganvillia. The sound of rain gently beating on the tin roof and the melodious sounds of a variety of birds enjoying the rain, was soothing as I set to work.

Mid afternoon the rain abated allowing me to walk across the creek and up the hill to visit another family member.

I was accompanied by more wonderful birdsong.

On my return, it was wine o'clock. This was enjoyed surrounded by massive jacarandahs hosting giant staghorns.

Happy memories were recalled here sitting on the vernadah of the cubby house built 60 odd years ago by Grandfather.

I sewed happily, late into the evening.

The wonderful raindrops continued to fall throughout the night and most of the morning. Perfect for a lazy morning of reading and sewing. Soon after midday the rain paused and I was able to enjoy a BBQ lunch almost rain free. Let me reassure you that I am not an alcholic. This bottle of wine lasted me all weekend.

I checked the radar at 3pm and decided a good walk was in order. Definitely a good decision and the beauty of the farm drew me to its highest point, even if with a lot of huffing and puffing, to the top of Mt Cullen.

Starting point.

Who can spot the orange Lady Bird?

The Avenue.

Looking back from The Avenue.

Coming out of The Avenue to wonderful Blue Gums.

The real climbing begins!

Pink spot is the house area.

The top, looking north across the farm.

The view from the top looking west.

On my descent I couldn't begin to imagine how this mountain had been cleared, sewn with corn and harvested in the mid 50's by the three brothers. A phone conversation with Cousin Robert, informed me that all the local farmers helped out and one had used his tractor to do the ploughing. Flying foxes were put in place to bring the bags of corn down. The mind boggles. I could hardly stand upright.

This was the view on turning around. [blue dot - the house. Pink - cousin's home.]

There was no time to catch my breath. Looking east more showers were rolling in. 

Looking back to where I had just come from.

A damp view from The Avenue.

A third of the way down I spotted the first bovine inhabitants of the farm.

It now became the 'Walk of the Curious Cows'!

Their behaviour gave me much amusement. It was as if they hadn't seen a human before.


Congestion at the four-ways!

I made the decision to turn right into the field on the left. The cows appreciated that and moved into the field beyond and grazed contentedly. Well, until I entered the next field, about 50m from the house paddock.

Either their curiosity got the better of them again or they wanted to see that I closed the gates securely!

What an amazingly, beautiful afternoon this had been. Night soon fell. Photos were downloaded and then back to the sewing.

Thanks for hanging in there. Part two of this blissful weekend is to come.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. Wow - such a beautiful place and so lush and green! Nice to see some rain too.

    1. My Dad used to call it "God's own country".

  2. Wow--- so many pictures. Soaking rain, incredible mushrooms, cute cattle, and fine Australian faces.

    1. I love your description, 'fine Australian faces'. It brings a lump to my throat. They were.

  3. Your family looks very happy and kind. :)
    Fabulous views and plants and animals...

  4. What beautiful countryside and great photos too.

    1. Thanks Joan. It is really magnificent after the rain.

  5. Such stunning landscape and such a contrast yo farming out here. It must have been so joyous to spend time there at your leisure.

    1. It was and I was wishing I could share the rain with you.

  6. Sounds like a lovely getaway!

    1. Just wonderful being able to enjoy its green vistas.

  7. Good morning Helen: It is wonderful that you have this kind of extended family and that you are all still in contact and able to get together for family events of this nature. The location is stunning and if course bears many memories for you. As for a bottle of wine lasting you the whole weekend I will be happy to come out and help you shorten its life a tad!

    1. David, I doubt you would enjoy the quality of the wine but you would love the birds.

  8. As with your last post, I love the old photos interspersed with your new adventure. What a wonderful legacy you have! And it's fun to see that cattle are curious - no matter which hemisphere they call home.

  9. Thanks Kim. So many happy memories, old and new.
    Our Grandson has just learnt to say moo, so it was wonderful to be able to send him lots of photos.

  10. Hi Helen, what a wonderful experience that you had especially being on your own with the gentle rain and everything. Not forgetting the bottle of wine too! It brought back Vivid memories from when all my children were growing up at a little place called koonorigan 20 km north of Lismore, country very similar to the one at locheal. I love the presentation especially with the old photographs mixed in with the new experience. It was nice to catch up yesterday and hear of your experiences firsthand. Cheers bill

    1. Thanks Bill. So glad you were also able to relive lovely memories. As my Dad said, "Its Gods own country"

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Beautiful photographs and beautiful memories :)