The Gillon family has created a magic garden in Tasmania’s Northern Midlands.
Story + Photos Kim Woods Rabbidge
There’s a sense of anticipation on approach to Strathmore at Evandale, in Tasmania’s Northern Midlands. Entry is via a causeway at one end of a 3ha lake bordered by a band of venerable oaks, hawthorns and robinias. You then pass a rare, heated, convict-built stone wall and emerge in an atmospheric garden surrounding a Georgian house and outbuildings built for Samuel Bryan who was granted land in 1823.
The 120ha property passed through many hands before Graham and Sue Gillon bought it in 1993, 170 years later. “I felt so grateful to be able to walk in the tracks of those first settlers,” says Sue, who’s passionate about Tasmanian history. “That period of history I love the most; all those young people coming out to make lives for themselves. They had patience and fortitude, and obviously loved the land.”
The Gillons’ arrival at Strathmore followed 27 years spent working at Woolnorth for the Van Diemen’s Land Company at Cape Grim in north-west Tasmania. While they loved that time the windy, salt-laden air certainly wasn’t conducive to gardening. A move east meant “a more sedate climate” where Sue could grow beautiful trees and shrubs she’d dreamed of. “Bless their cotton socks, some of the previous owners planted wonderful trees,” she says. “As soon as I saw the place, I could see possibilities.”
This story excerpt is from Issue #131
Outback Magazine: June/July 2020