Friday, May 17, 2013

Nindooinbah

About 80 km south-west of Brisbane lies the heritage homestead Nindooinbah. There are many stories that intertwine to complete the history of Nindooinbah and I won't have room to tell them all here. But I hope I can provide a potted version that will interest you.

The story begins with Queensland politician AW Compigne who built the original homestead in the 1850s. He was a member of Queensland's Upper House which of course no longer exists. In 1900 the property was leased by William Collins, a grazier. In fact, the Collins family was destined to become grazing aristocracy. The house in those days was a simple L-shape, but William Collins bought the property in 1906 and one of the first things he did was to engage Robin Dods to add extensions to the homestead, converting it to an E-shape. Here are a couple of pictures of Nindooinbah taken in 1908.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #135001)
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #135000)

And here is an undated photograph of William Collins with his wife Gwendoline and daughters Beryl and Dorothea at Nindooinbah. William was a grazier and a company director who died after a heart attack in 1909.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #193507)

The property stayed within the Collins family and was passed down to William's granddaughter Margaret de Burgh Persse who was born at Nindooinbah and lived there all her life. The de Burgh Persse family was another prominent farming and political clan of the era and the union with the Collins dynasty must have made them a formidable presence indeed. 

Margaret married the artist Patrick Hockey in 1983, and together they restored the house and beautified its surrounds. The house became famous for parties and it hosted many important guests over the remaining years of their lives. When Margaret died in 2004 the house was inherited by nephew Tim Stevens, a winemaker in Mudgee. He put the property on the market in 2005 and it was bought by Brisbane entrepreneur Euan Murdoch (of Herron Pharmaceuticals fame) and his wife. 

The Murdochs, too, have wanted to further restore and beautify Nindooinbah. Here are some photographs from the web pages that recorded the five-year transition.
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(Photos: www.nindooinbah.com)

Nindooinbah today is a leading cattle breeding business. It is at the forefront of artificial breeding, in particular the Angus Brahman cross known as Ultra Black.

This fabulous place launched Open Gardens Australia last year. I missed it, but if it is on again this year I'm a definite starter!

Click here for a Google Map.

tff 

4 comments:

  1. I knew Margaret very well - she was a wonderful, generous, kind-hearted woman. She loved that house, and it's good to see that it is still being cared for.

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  2. My great aunt was nanny/governess to Margaret. I remember visiting the property with my family when I was very young. A wonderful family and property. Glad to see it being restored.

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    1. "Miss Morgan" was a much-respected and loved acquaintance of my family for many years. We lived in both the older gate-house then in John Collins' home (more recently the residence of the manager, my cousin). Dad worked with the diesel power supply and other tasks including mail runs and supply deliveries to the share farms, many of them managed by his brothers. For many years, mum worked as cleaner in the homestead. As a toddler in the early 50s I frequently and regularly had morning tea in the kitchen, shared many times in the lovely company of your great aunt. She used to let me share in her devoted feeding of the birds and taught me how to bow:) Our association continued into my young adulthood and I was thrilled when she graciously met and impressed my new fiancee. I have no claim on her as a blood relative, Michael, but she had been a great influence in my early life and remains a beloved mind link to those times and since.

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