Acres upon acres of rolling brown land stretch out before me as I make my way towards Wolston Farmhouse. I pass three prisons, their barbed wire fences glinting in the sunlight and follow the signs to the oldest surviving residential farmhouse in the district.
Wolston Farmhouse is a National Trust of Australia (Queensland) property which stands as a link to Queensland's pioneering past. The brick and sandstone house was built by Dr Stephen Simpson, an 'English gentleman of cultivated mind and manners', in the 1850s. In 1854, he invited his niece's son, John Ommaney, to live and work at the property. Ommaney died in a horse-riding accident two years later.
History eerily repeated itself in the 1940s, when Jem Grindle, the daughter of the property's new owner, also died after a fall from a horse. These and other tragic tales, such as the 1893 flooding of a family mausoleum built on the river flat below the house, have formed the foundation for rumours of hauntings at the historic property.
Time to straighten a few things out. Author image.
Ghosts or not, there is plenty to explore on a stroll through Wolston Farmhouse, including a kitchen furnished with items authentic to the era, an imposing formal dining room, and a sitting room showcasing century-old silverware. The size of a horsehair mattress in the main bedroom suggests the average height of people in the colony's early days was much shorter than that today.
Wolston Farmhouse also has a new Tea Terrace Cafe selling scones, light meals such as potted beef and mushroom pie, and high tea (bookings required). People purchasing food don't need to buy a separate entry ticket, but on the flip side, the food isn't anything to get excited about. Still, on a hot day, sitting under the slow twirling tropical fans looking out over the expansive acres of farmland, it's a great spot to sit, rest and reflect.