Historic farm under the hammer

Clockwise from top: Historic Balladong Farm is for sale; some of the historic buildings and farm equipment; the farm is nestled on the banks of the Avon.
Clockwise from top: Historic Balladong Farm is for sale; some of the historic buildings and farm equipment; the farm is nestled on the banks of the Avon.

The heritage-listed property, near York, consists of 40 hectares of land and is recognised as the oldest inland property in WA.

Mike Bawden, from York Estate Agents who is handling the sale, said the farm had attracted a lot of interest from potential buyers and people just curious about the history of the farm.

‘Usually, auctions don’t sell on the day but within 30 days afterwards ” this one possibly could sell at auction,’ Mr Bawden said. ‘It was the first original farm in WA and the buildings are really awesome, with displays of early farming throughout.’

Mr Bawden said interested buyers could include those looking to restore the property to its glory days or to use it for a tourism attraction for the town.

‘It would be ideal for tourism and a caravan park, with the added attraction of the heritage buildings as a tourism venture,’ he said.

‘It could also be used for an over 55s development. with its Avon riverfront land and easy walking distance to the town.’

In 1830, Ensign Dale was commissioned to find suitable farming land east of the Darling Range.

When he came to the Avon Valley region, he is believed to have said it was ‘some of the finest agricultural land he had seen’.

Balladong Farm was settled in 1831 by William Heal, who took up a grant of 20ha of land as a reward for settling in the district. The farm was sold in 1848 to Stephen Parker.

The introduction of convicts to the colony and the availability of the associated new labour led Mr Parker to initiate a major building program in the 1850s, which included construction of the shearing shed, granary, stables and in 1860, Bridge House.

The farm also had its own slaughterhouse and butcher shop and, later, a flourmill was built on the banks of the Avon River.

Balladong remained in the Parker family until 1974, when the National Trust purchased it and restored its buildings to their former glory.

The Shire of York took over its ownership in 1977 and opened it to the public in 1979 as a tourist attraction.

The farm is now privately owned.

The auction will take place at the Imperial Hotel in York from 11am on October 26.