Markdale, a historic Australian homestead, has been in the same family for three generations.
Set in the rolling green hills around Crookwell, New South Wales, this sheep and cattle property was bought in 1920, by Mr James Ashton, a parliamentary member for Goulburn 1901-1908.
”our family have been living and working on this property since the 1920s.” said Mary Ashton.
Today the house and garden are open because the property has been sold and there is to be an auction of the all contents of the house on Sunday.
We have come to look at the garden, designed by a pioneer of Australian landscape design, Edna Walling.
However, it is tempting to look inside the elegant homestead, with high ceilings, sitting rooms and a dining room, all filled with antiques, books and art.
It is truly ”the end of an era” sale, right down to fur coats and a beautiful 1920s wedding dress…
Upstairs is a large room probably used as a playroom, or a school room. Many children on remote farms traditionally had a tutor or governess until they went on to boarding schools in the cities or larger farming towns.
Every room has its own private view of the garden…
In 1947 Edna Walling re-designed the garden, removing many existing hedges to make way for the natural scenery of the paddocks and hills.
Many of the hallmarks of her design are here….curved granite walls, gently dividing the garden, a profusion of roses, and hardy perennials…..and the paddocks and hills can be seen at every turn..
Edna Walling is said to have designed the garden around some of the original trees. Unfortunately I don’t know if these are still standing, but there are some striking Eucalyptus trees on the right of the homestead…
…and from these trees the sweeping lawns guide the garden
…..through a canopy of trees and greenery.
Stone paths lead to garden rooms, which are protected from the winds by hardy perennials ….
Plants in this garden have to survive extremes of weather, very hot summers, and regular snow in winter…
Wisterias, magnolias, weeping elms, and claret ashes, and a great variety of shrubs and trees lead the eye onwards to the depth of the garden and the small lake beyond….
Autumn shows the colours of the garden, but spring is just as grand I’m told.
A new family with young children are moving into Markdale to begin a next chapter in the life of this beautiful property.
…just think of the fun they will have with this bonfire!
PS….In true country style the family and local community had tea and coffee ready, and all the wonderful homemade cakes that you only see in the country…..scones and cream, lamingtons, lemon meringue pie, passionfruit slice, and of course, Caramel slices, dripping with goodness ….be still my beating heart!!
I didn’t take a photo of all the wonderful cakes on offer, but here is a sample of an Aussie country favourite cake…a lamington.