Revisit life before labour saving devices and laptops at Tranby House in Maylands – the oldest surviving house in metropolitan Perth.
Governor Stirling granted 102 acres of then 'bush' land to devout Methodist brothers Joseph Hardey and John Wall Hardey in 1830.
Originally known as Peninsula Farm, Tranby House dates to 1839. It was the third house built by the brothers after two earlier attempts were washed away by flood. The house is open to visitors, and is furnished as it would have been in the 19th century.
It is shaded by oak trees, planted from acorns the brothers brought with them on the ship Tranby from their home in Hull, England - along with assorted animals including 10 rabbits, two turkeys and one pregnant cow.
After I hand over my $5, a volunteer guide shows me around the house, built in the 'bungalow' style with handmade bricks, handmade nails, and hand-cut jarrah floorboards.
The women of the family were not spared hard work either, as witnessed by hand-operated washing 'machines', a laundry wringer, butter churn, spinning wheel, and wood-fired stove. One can only pity the servants who slept above the kitchen in summer – with a cast iron stove burning wood overnight downstairs and, of course, no air-conditioning.
An early medical kit offers a fascinating glimpse into treatments past, including sulphur for scabies, lavender for 'women's disorders' and calomel for syphilis, apoplexy, gout and 'congested and torpid liver due to free living'.
The Hardey family grew wheat and fruit and, in later generations, made wine.
The original farm has largely been lost to subdivision and suburban property development but Tranby House itself was saved from the jaws of the Bond Corporation by the National Trust in 1970s.
Set on the banks of the Swan River, the lawns of Tranby House also make a peaceful spot for a picnic or even a game of croquet. (Croquet equipment is available for loan from the front desk if you leave a small deposit.)
I should add that Tranby is also the site of Peninsula Tea Gardens. I didn't have time to sample their offerings but the menu looks delicious. For more information their website can be found here www.peninsulateagardens.com/index.html.
By Victoria Button - senior reviewer Wednesday, 21st of September @ 03:29 am
We love a tea garden - thanks for the tip
By Anonymous Wednesday, 21st of September @ 06:35 am
Went to the tea gardens a while back and was unimpressed with the food.However the location is awesome.
By KAM57 - reader Saturday, 18th of August @ 04:17 am