Lochiel House

It was 1980 and I stood in the pottery gallery, an old homestead at Kurrajong Heights on the Bells Line of Road. I remembered it as a child and had been told that it was the original post office.

I was totally intrigued by the earthy presentation of the pots and the warmth of the old house with its low ceilings, and knowing that not more than a couple of kilometres away my grandparents once lived. I fondly remembered their old property on the highest point of the mountain, and maybe felt more than a slight resentment that they had sold the property before I was of an age to have a say in it’s future.

I wandered backwards and forwards, unsettled, looking at the displays, wanting to purchase a piece of my ancestor’s past. I questioned the lady present about local potters, feeling that a sample of local clay would make me feel more at ease – she questioned me about my heritage and I revealed my maiden name. She knew the history of the building and revealed who the past owners were, my great grandparents, and that my grandmother had been born in this very room that I was standing in.

The chill that I had felt before grew as she showed me through the house and explained events of the past, and showed me photos of the front garden where my ancestors had served Sunday tea. It’s truly incredible but to that moment, to the time that I had felt compelled to stop, to explaining my feelings each time I passed that point on the mountain – I felt it was childhood sentimentality but I now know it was more than just childhood rememberance of times passed, that there was heritage, ancestors, someone trying to express themselves and make themselves known. Someone close, trying to relate to me, trying to communicate with me, and trying to welcome me.

Who knows, who or what!

I felt it; I still feel it, even looking from Richmond to the mountain. I also feel …

A closeness and a sense of belonging, resentment that the mountain no longer belongs to me or my family, a feeling of wanting to return and to be at peace with nature and myself.

As a child I loved the mountain, the peace, the beauty, the isolation and the clean, cold air. The bush and the breathtaking views, the daffodils and the garden that grew wild at the front of my grandparent’s house. The sandstone where we engraved our initials, the lost moments – the very memorable occasions that today’s life cannot recapture or replace – the moments in time that only I will recall. I remember them, I remember the mountain and I now know that my ancestors are there still, welcoming me each time I return, and waiting for me to return for eternity ….

This written text “Lochiel House” remains the property of Beverley Woodman and cannot be copied or reproduced in any way without the permission of the author (copyright Beverley Woodman 19/9/1980)

Lochiel House

Bev Woodman

Joined April 2008

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Artist's Description

This is a short story I wrote after one of my many trips back to Kurrajong Heights before I really questioned who my ancestors were and before I started researching them. Lochiel House was originally known as IVY LODGE and was built by Joseph Douglass sometime soon after 1825 on his land grant and was perhaps the earliest accommodation house on the Bells Line of Road, a perfect stopping point after the long climb on their way to Lithgow and beyond. Lochiel House once belonged to my great grand parents. My great grandfather ran the post office in the old building from 1884 until he died in 1922. Various members of my family were born or died and many, including my father lived in Lochiel House throughout the ages.

It is now a highly rated restaurant and worth a stop if passing that way. The walls are adorned with photos of the past.

Artwork Comments

  • Steve  Woodman
  • Bev Woodman
  • Carol  Lewsley
  • Bev Woodman
  • joak
  • Bev Woodman
  • Jen Wahl
  • Bev Woodman
  • Ginger  Barritt
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