The original of Gulf Station by Kathy Shell has SOLD as has the ebook cover image.
Gulf Station, the perfect place for a family picnic
The original family owned the property for more than a century, in that time establishing an entire complex of buildings, including the oldest section, the kitchen wing, dating to the 1840s.
There's a slaughterhouse, sheep dip (when Border Leicesters and Merino cross breeds were dipped in an arsenic solution to kill lice and ticks) and butcher's shop, with the Bells making much of their fortune from selling meat to local gold-rush miners.
There's even a schoolhouse, Yarra Glen's first school, built in 1866 before it was dismantled and reassembled near the station's homestead. The Bells sold the property to bookmaker Jack Smedley in the 1950s (according to Kevin they were forced to sell after death duty taxes dwindled their fortune), with the Smedleys running it as a cattle farm and nursery.
The National Trust's Gulf Station property manager Julie Dal Pra says it was the Smedleys who realised the historical importance of the land.
"When people came to the property for the nursery they all wanted to see the buildings," Julie says.
"So the Smedleys approached the premier at the time, Rupert Hamer, who was sensitive to heritage issues, and the government bought it."
The National Trust was appointed the manager, which has since bought an additional slice of land between the farm and the town of Yarra Glen, to stop urban sprawl encroaching on the rural vista.
Periodic "Lost Traditions" weekends are held showcasing working horses, indigenous craft and traditional skills. It was during one of those Lost traditions weekends, several decades ago, when I first discovered Gulf Station on a working farm day.
I saw Clydesdales plowing paddocks, the old blacksmith shop open, and horses shod. I exhibit art and hand built pottery while I painted the scene below. At the end of that evening, I joined the workers and volunteers around a campfire. We pitched in funds and commitments to continue the work of using Gulf Station as a place where we could share glimpses of Australia's past colonial heritage at this old working station,(ranch for US readers) for future generations.