My first memories are of a house in Healesville – or more accurately, around 5 “miles” out of Healesville. Up the hill from our home was a large guesthouse – catering for around 150 guests. This was originally run by our grandparents and another couple in partnership, although my clearest memories are of my uncle taking over the running. Our house was like a log cabin, but far from small. There was a large dormitory style room where my three siblings and I slept, the girls one end and the boys the other end. All around us was bushland. With the guesthouse, and some holiday flats as well there were plenty of other children around although they changed all the time.
The guesthouse provided some of their own produce. The one I remember most clearly is the milk and cream. They had cows. My older cousins had the task of milking them for the milk and cream for the guesthouse. I would not be surprised if they also had chickens for eggs, and probably grew a range of vegetables, but I cannot remember this. My memory says that the milking was done by hand – no milking machines. This was during the fifties. Memories of visits after we moved away from Healesville still had these cousins and later some paid staff milking the cows. The uncle who ran the guesthouse had owned a farm close by before taking over the guesthouse, but I cannot remember whether this was crops or animals. Thinking about the area, I would expect that it was animals – perhaps dairy cattle.
Down the hill from our log cabin was the road to Healesville. Over the road was bushland, with a creek. In the creek was a pump for pumping water up to supplement the water supply for the various dwellings – the guesthouse, our log cabin, the holiday flats. Another of the jobs for our cousins was to start up the generator to run the pump when it was required.
It is interesting how starting to think about the past, memories come back. I can now remember seeing the old-style milk cans at the gate to my uncle’s farm (or was it some other farm in the region?). This is the memory I have of the milk cans at the gate. Maybe this confirms that my uncle had a dairy farm.