Rural haven evokes a nostalgic past for Lindy

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Lindy and Bob Ross… “I get satisfaction from seeing things have another life and it’s part of living alongside the history here,” says Lindy. Photo: Holly Treadaway

WITH gardens established by the owner’s parents, Cambrey Farm in Pialligo is a rural haven that reflects the 80-year history of the farm.

Pretty cottage gardens surround the two homes on the 2.7-hectare farm that was established in the 1930s and has been in owner Lindy Ross’ family since 1954.

Cambrey will be open to the public on April 13-14 through Open Gardens Canberra, with golden ash, liquidambar, Japanese maples and box elders showing off bright autumn colour.

Cool, shady paths lead to a series of garden rooms, with a secluded formal rose garden box-hedge parterre framed by a thick cherry laurel hedge, an old orchard with pear, peach, apple, quince and nectarine trees remaining, a productive veggie patch, solar-heated pool, dilapidated old poultry farm and restored barn.

Photo: Holly Treadaway

Bob and Lindy say conditions can be harsh for the garden, exposed as it is to heavy frosts and strong winds, but thanks to protective plantings, fertile soil and hardy plants, it’s thriving.

“We use a combination of bore water and rainwater tanks to water the garden and chose tough plants like roses, viburnum and grapevines,” says Lindy.

The kerosene-tin-clad barn, once a grain store for the poultry farm and still housing a Bonser feed mixer, was restored with salvaged timber from an old World War I internment camp in Fyshwick and will be used as an art gallery on the open weekend.

It’s also insulated with alpaca fleece in the spirit of making use of what you have. Lindy’s reuse philosophy is evident throughout the farm, with vintage flagon pendant lights in the barn, planters made from 44-gallon drums sawed in half and gabion benches from reused timber and rocks.

Photo: Holly Treadaway

“I get satisfaction from seeing things have another life and it’s part of living alongside the history here,” says Lindy.

“My parents planted the pin oaks that line the driveway and I’m always reminded of my mum being outside gardening or my dad from his old tools hanging outside the shed and the collection of saddles and riding boots in the barn.”

Bob and Lindy have three old chooks who lay sporadically and 12 sweet alpacas that help control the grass in the paddock.

Alpaca poo and honey from the farm’s hives will be available for sale over the open weekend, as well as Devonshire teas with all scones home made by Bob.

Cambrey Farm, 18 Beltana Road, Pialligo, open 10am-4pm, Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14. Admission $8; free to under-18s and Open Gardens Canberra members. More information at

Photos: Holly Treadaway

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist.

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