Harvey Hills - The Family of Animals

The owners of the farmstay obviously loved their job. From an outsider's point of view, it was too easy to mistake running such a business as idyllic. That couldn't be further from the truth. Tending to animals is hard work. So is the never-ending task of fence building, the endless repair work, not forgetting the municipal, legal and safety issues. On top of that they run a website to showcase their hard work to administrate curious travelers who wish to stay a few nights at their farm. 

Mum and her 2 kids
But how happy were they. I was wrong to regard the animals on the farm as cattle and poultry. They appeared to be more like pets. Every sheep, goat, lama, cow or ram had a name and a story, if you care to stop and listen. Snowie the goat was as powerful as a lawn mower but not as bad as the new comer who couldn't stop bleating and destroying gardens. The two tiny black lambs were only 4 days old. On our second evening, there was a commotion outside as humans wandered into the grazing region of the animals and surround one of the big haystacks to watch a sheep give birth to yet another lamb.

I had visited a few leisure farms here but this was something different. There was no animal-petting zones or animal feeding activities. Everything was free and easy. There was even a couple of sheep and a few noisy peacocks walking about all the time, way out of their fenced boundaries. That made me feel like I was staying in a real leisure farm, not a zoo-masquerade. Did I feel any threat from the animals getting too close to Albany? I had the tendency to be rather closer to animals than human beings. That family that arrived on our second day made it impossible for me to be at my usual evasive self. 

I thought it was just an unusual talkative boy. He started off with no greeting and went straight into a conversation. Why were these Aussie kids so good at these? When I was their age, I would hide behind my mother's legs when prompted to greet the 'uncle' or 'auntie'. That young boy, no older than 5 years old at most, and his sisters simply regarded me as part of the landscape and showed no discomfort I looked and sounded so different from them. Instead, they revealed their personal details such as their names, where they lived and talked about their pets and interests. Later on, their cheerful father joined the conversation. I could then see why the children were sociable and amiable. He talked to me like I had known him for years. He was completely at ease when he was a stay-at-home-dad of 3 kids while his wife worked. In his shoes, I would avoid telling people as much as possible to minimize questions and mock-gasps. To show my appreciation for his forthrightness, I asked no question on his family set up. It was none of my business anyway. They were happy to share their experience of having a couple of chooks as pets later on. Such conversations with that family made me happy and felt welcomed. I should have shared tales of my late pet dogs with my ex-company's workers from Bangladesh. I wondered if they would be interested.

The nosy peacock enjoyed sniffing around Ugly Green

Albany the Shepard


  1. Thanks for sharing your story on their farm. Could I have address or web link to their farm?

  2. http://www.harveyhillsfarmstay.com.au/