As at any farm, all the work, rest and play at Ratho Farm revolves around the homestead.
The homestead, gardens, walks and accommodation will be open to overnight guests, day-visitors and quick café call-ins, from late April.
The homestead has changed enormously since the Reids were first ransacked by bushrangers on the verandah, or since the John Glover painting of 1838. We are slowly restoring it to its former glory including the surrounding garden. Perhaps not quite so gushingly lovely as this description from the Tasmanian Presbyterian magazine…but one can only hope to make it so poetic WITHOUT the references to Englishness of course…Essex, I mean seriously!) Perhaps among our guests we can find some soft moving lips to sing that song…
A great world traveller of the 1860s described Ratho as one of the most picturesque and ideally English homes he saw outside his beloved England. Its beautiful setting of English trees and hawthorn avenues, its sloping lawns and graceful willows, its flower beds and conservatories, its carriage drive and farm buildings seemed like a charming bit of Essex transported into this sunny Southern isle….
The writer wishes the hand of some master painter could transfer to canvas an autumn evening at Ratho some years ago. From the side of the stone verandah he looked out over a rich green lawn to an old rustic style near sweeping willows, where the river lazily flowed and brown trout were rising and cranes were their evening meal; the whole scene was one of perfect peace and serenity and was flooded with the golden light of the setting sun as if the last hour of the day was its sweetest and best.
From a different angle he saw a shaft of golden light through the French windows, which lit with a soft light the big drawing room where in her favourite corner sat the lady of Ratho, her now silky white, soft moving lips singing a song….”