In the spring of 1836, on a cold, dark, and stormy night a baby boy was born aboard the Barque Africaine – a 317-Ton ship bound from England to Australia.
Tossed upon the seas, the mother and her newborn survived a further two months in grim, overcrowded conditions. On reaching land, the baby became the first to be baptised in the new colony and, bearing the middle-name ‘Africaine’, he grew up to carry on his family’s trade farming pastoral lands north of Mount Macedon.*
The baby was my great, great, Grandfather.
That same spring, Sir Thomas Mitchell returned to Sydney from an expedition through the cultural landscape of Kulin nation country guided by Wiradjuri man, John Piper, a diplomat and translator. Having traversed the Campaspe River, stood atop Mount Macedon and observed “rich soil, flowery plains and green hills fanned by the breezes of early spring,” Mitchell referred to the region as ‘Australia Felix’ (Lucky Australia) – later named ‘Victoria’. Villages and waterwheel flour mills soon popped up on the banks of the Campaspe while pastoral runs, homesteads, crofters’ huts, and wheat stooks hugged its creeks and tributaries.
Today, six generations on, Ashley and I feel lucky to call the Daylesford Macedon region home. Crofters Fold Estate, our small holding in the hamlet of Pipers Creek, is just a few minutes’ drive east of Kyneton nestled among ancient granite tors with views across grassy woodlands peppered with majestic eucalypti. The seasonal Pipers Creek, said to be named after one of the district’s earliest European pastoralists William Piper, is a silvery-blue life force that meanders its way from our paddocks through spectacular granite country to the back of my family’s Merino wool farm in Sidonia and on to eventually join the Campaspe.
So, when wanderlust has you journey to this part of the world, be sure to drink in the history and beauty of the cool climate country that has inspired the human thirst for the good life for millennia.
Crofters Fold Estate is an award-winning artisanal, bee-friendly rose and peony farm and small-batch sparkling wine vineyard. Their Farmhouse Lodge provides a perfect getaway for two. Relax and restore or venture out and experience all that the Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges region has to offer; from the culture and charm of its villages to its tranquil bush walks, wildlife and dramatic biodiverse landscapes.
* The Wurundjeri people’s original name for Mount Macedon is Geboor
Photo: Ashley Wren & Danielle White. Photography by Chloe Smith