Patterdale Farm’s picturesque views inspired renowed artist John Glover. (ABC Landline: Margot Kelly)
When Carol Westmore bought a farm near Launceston 15 years ago, she inadvertently embarked on a mammoth heritage-restoration project.
The fertile property, Patterdale Farm, was home to renowned artist John Glover, who is known as the father of colonial Australian art.
When art enthusiasts kept turning up asking to see “Glover Country”, Ms Westmore realised she was the caretaker of a chapter of Australian history and, as an arts lover herself, decided to preserve it.
The original farmhouse featured in a number of John Glover’s paintings but was on the brink of collapse a few years ago.
Through meticulous study of Glover’s artworks, Ms Westmore has revived the home.
The farmhouse was derelict when the restoration project began in 2016. (Supplied: Carol Westmore)
The renovation team reinforced the structure but retained the influence of the past, recreating every detail of the home.
It wasn’t an easy feat. There are no straight lines in the house and every piece of timber needed to be fitted by hand.
A craftsman who worked on the project drew satisfaction from breathing life into an historic building.
“The best thing about working out here was Carol and Rodney doing such a wonderful thing, because it goes right to the core of our Australian culture,” French polisher Vaughan Fisher said.
Vaughan Fisher had to resist spending all his time there painting and sketching. (ABC Landline: Mitchell Woolnough)
Glover painted Aboriginal people into his artwork, even though they had been forced from the area by the time he claimed a land grant in 1831.
Arts writer and Glover enthusiast Jane Deeth said the artist’s work is significant for its appreciation of the original custodians of the land.
“He knew that he was on Aboriginal land as well, and he painted the Aboriginal people as he imagined them on the land, so it’s a landscape that is layered,” Dr Deeth said.
“It is an ancient land and it is the land that Glover loved and farmed and that subsequent people have looked after.”
Dr Deeth says art students relish the opportunity to walk in Glover’s footsteps. (ABC Landline: Mitchell Woolnough)
Those landscapes are now protected. Ms Westmore has had 4,000 hectares of the property heritage listed.
“I think it’s important to preserve the landscape that John Glover painted,” she said.
“I would have hesitated if it was all rich farmland, but a lot of it is hills that John Glover painted that are essentially in the same condition.”
While the hills of Glover Country can never be cleared, they can be used to produce wool.
Farm manager Angus Brown sees a lot of potential on this already productive property. (ABC Landline: Mitchell Woolnough)
Farm manager Angus Brown said the farm’s superfine merino flock spent most of its time in the bush grazing on native pastures.
“On the back-country runs they are basically foraging by themselves, we might only see them three or four times a year,” he said.
“They’ve got pretty good feed up there and then they come in and get shorn.”
The shearing shed at Patterdale Farm is a hive of activity in an otherwise tranquil setting. (ABC Landline: Mitchell Woolnough)
The wool is carefully prepared so that only the best parts of the fleece make it into the bale.
The superfine clip is in demand with Italian fashion houses keen to spruik the provenance of the wool and the unique story of Glover Country.
Alister Strickland, a wool classer for 51 years, enjoys working on the superfine fleeces. (ABC Landline: Mitchell Woolnough)
Watch this story on ABC TV’s Landline this Sunday at 12:30pm or on iview.