Life in the fast lane getting you down? You don’t have to go far to recharge your batteries in the total peace and quiet of Wee Jasper, and spend some time with the memory of Australia’s most well-loved poet and writer, A. B. (Banjo) Paterson. By Aine Dowling
Once the home of Banjo Paterson, Coodravale is an iconic Australian homestead, and from 1850 was used as a station property until purchased in 1908 by Paterson together with a member of the Lindeman wine-making family. Paterson lived at Coodravale until 1911 when he returned to Sydney. Coodravale Homestead is now a private residence owned by John Robinson and Rosemary McKenzie, and extensive renovations and upgrades have turned a large rambling homestead with servants quarters into a beautiful home, and The Garden Wing; stunning self-contained accommodation including large double bedroom, bathroom, lounge/dining, kitchen, and wide verandah with amazing views of the valley.
Just 90 minutes from Canberra (via Yass) the first thing you notice at Coodravale is the absolute peace and quiet. Surrounded by lush gardens and paddocks of 16 acres and 500 metres of Goodradigbee riverfront, this is the perfect place to relax and wind down after a week in the ‘dusty, dirty’ city. The second thing is the generous hospitality from hosts John and Rosemary, who treat their visitors as long-time family friends without being intrusive.
“We bought this property with a small B&B in mind,” says John. “We absolutely fell in love with it the moment we saw it even though it was covered in dust and cobwebs, and needed a new roof! The location is perfect—we’re far enough from neighbours to not notice them, but close enough to be part of a welcoming community.
“The gardens still need bit of work but we’re getting there. We have lots of seating and quiet spots scattered under the trees and there’s swimming holes in the river so you can cool off on hot days. The only noise at night is the occasional wombat trundling past the verandah, and the beautiful birdsong in the early morning. Every day we feel blessed to be living in such wonderful spot.”
The Garden Wing is attached to the main house but has its own entrance, verandah, and garden. Everything is provided for your comfort from kitchen staples to your own BBQ, a well-stocked reading room, air-conditioning for the summer, and heating and snuggly doonas and lap blankets in the winter. And, if you do need anything else, John and Rosemary are only too happy to help.
Wifi is also available, but seriously, why bother? This is wind-down time so learn a bit of history from John and his favourite book You Can’t Eat Scenery—Life in Wee Jasper from 1850 – 1970 which features Coodravale. Or bury yourself in Banjo’s famous works, a number of which he wrote while living at Coodravale, including A Mountain Station.
Images by LFW. LFW stayed at The Garden Wing courtesy of Coodravale.