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A beautiful step back in time
Frederick Dutton arrived in SA in 1841 and soon thereafter acquired a merino stud sheep station spread over 160,000 acres complete with an old log hut for the Property Manager. Dutton named the property Anlaby, after the name of a Yorkshire village, and there began an integral piece of South Australian sheep farming and gardening history.
Anlaby remained with the Dutton family for 125 years before ownership changed a couple of times before landing in to the careful and restorative hands of the current owners. Once a proud sheep station and iconic garden, Anlaby experienced some years of neglect, before the careful restoration effort that it is currently experiencing.
To show visitors the depth and breadth of this property, and to show the restorative efforts that are a long way down the path to being completed, the owners of Anlaby are opening the Station for a weekend of spectacular viewing. On the 8th and 9th of October there will be food stalls, garden sculptures and a gift shop in addition to the 10 acres of gardens to explore. For children there will be activities around the Maypole, the Town Square and the Central Garden Fountain. And for those just wanting to rest and smell the roses, the tea and scones around the fountain provides the perfect opportunity.
Anlaby Station is located 16km north of Kapunda, just off the Thiele Highway, a day trip that is approximately 90 minutes from Adelaide. Anlaby Station is the oldest merino stud in Australia and at its peak the property ran as many as 70,000 sheep, had shearing that lasted nine months and employed 70 people, and was near neighbours with Eudunda's favourite son, Colin Thiele.
To cater for this vast array of people, an extensive array of buildings were built as well as numerous other structures, orchards, vegetable gardens, entertainment areas and ultimately the Anlaby Gardens. At its peak, the gardens had a team of 14 gardeners who all worked to build and maintain a garden that was both impressive and productive.
Restoring the gardens back to their original glory has been a labour of love for the new owners whom have scoured old photos and spent time referencing structures and plants, all with a view to trying to return the look and feel to the Gardens that were a proud part of the community during last century.
Stone walls have been repaired and renovated, and the flower beds behind the walls are now coloured pink and white through a great showing of seasonal poppies, roses and tulips. Old bulbs make regular appearances, with the only significant departure from the past being the large trees which have all grown considerably since first planted many years ago.
Today Anlaby Gardens extends over 10 acres and has Arboretum tree plantings which include exotic species collected from all over the world. On display are unusual shrubs, ornamentals, fruit trees, roses, poppies, irises and Mediterranean species, with the garden terraces abundant with annual and perennial flowers complementing the orchards and other productive gardens.
And for those who want to experience more of Anlaby Gardens, perhaps in a less public and more leisurely or romantic fashion, the owners have converted the former Manager's and Accountant's Offices into self contained Bed and Breakfast accommodation. These offices comprise a two story building with three bedrooms upstairs, and a kitchen, bathroom and very comfortable sitting room downstairs. Further details are available at the Anlaby Station website or from their facebook page.