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Greenmount Homestead Mackay Australia

May 9, 2010

Last week I was lucky enough to visit the tropical north of the state of Queensland in Australia. I went to Greenmount Homestead outside Mackay, and looked over the area first settled by John Mackay in 1862 and strolled through the first permanent house built on the Greenmount property in 1915 .

The house has been preserved as a reminder of the grandeur of the days when the State Governor paid formal visits and district-wide dances were held on the wide verandahs. Formal afternoon teas were served from fine china and English silver by white uniformed maids, the last housekeeper being a descendent of labourers blackbirded from the New Hebrides to work the sugar plantations. Ladies dressed formally in hats and gloves and were driven to town to pay visits to friends while the men of the family conducted business with bankers and mill owners.

A fascinating feature of the house is the extra small side door leading to the smaller, darker, side verandah and farm office. This was used by anyone who came to do business with the land owner, the much smaller size emphasizing the difference in social status between land holders and workers.

Another was the blinds on the front room that were lowered after dinner so the men could retire to the verandah for smoking and port which meant the ladies theoretically sat secluded from their rowdiness inside the drawing room and shared tea.

This is the first in a series of posts about the beauty and history of far northern Australia. I hope you enjoy them and please feel free to leave commnets if you’ve been here , or to similar homesteads.


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