Entering the gates of Jimbour House is like stepping into the setting for a fairy tale.
Gone are the sun-baked fields and humble farmhouses of rural Queensland. Instead, my friend Sue and I found ourselves in a oasis of beauty and peace, where birds sang and warm wind blew through the tree tops.
Last time I showed you the front of Jimbour House and the wonderful kitchen garden. Today we’re ducking around the side of the house to explore the back.
To get to the back of the property you can slip around the corner of the house (see above) or, like us, get there at your leisure by wandering through the kitchen garden, across expansive lawns, and under wondrous old trees that provide the most exquisite shade.
The back of the property is a bit like a museum with lovely old restored barns and stables and even an airplane hanger. Placards bear all sorts of fascinating tidbits about the personalities who lived, worked, and visited Jimbour House over the past 100+ years.
I liked learning about an amazing woman named Nancy Bird-Walton.
Born 1915, Nancy was a fully qualified pilot by the age of 19. She went from being the youngest commercial licensed woman pilot in the British Commonwealth to becoming Australia’s “First Lady of aviation” in the 1970s. She became known as “Angel of the Outback” for her work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and received an OBE in 1966. In 1977 she became a Dame of St John (Knights of Malta).
In 1936 she flew over rising floodwaters and rescued a man named Charles Russell who, upon seeing her, exclaimed, “My God! It’s a Woman!”.
And what a woman.
Past the barns and hanger lies the Bluestone Building.
Built in 1868, it was originally a two-story edifice with southern verandas on both levels. It served as the Bell family residence until the present Jimbour House was completed in 1877. Now the Bluestone Building is a single story structure used as staff quarters. I think it’s marvelous.
For awhile Sue and I wondered if we’d be able to see the back gardens of Jimbour House. Each entrance thus far had been guarded with Staff Only signs. But as we rounded the corner of the Bluestone Building, an unobstructed path finally led us inside.
It is a lovely spot, secluded by hedges and towering trees with a delightful mix of shady and sunny spots.
Once again we were amazed at how much of it had a European feel.
Doesn’t this shady corner look like a scene out of Italy?
The verandas are broad and wide and deliciously shady, positioned beautifully to catch the cooling breezes blowing in from surrounding fields. I think they must be gorgeous in the morning, flooded with sunlight. I wouldn’t mind one bit sitting out there with my coffee and a good book.
Off to the left is another Italian-esque vignette. I love those clambering vines and topsy-turvy urns.
In the center of the yard is a fountain with benches in four corners. No matter one time of day, at least one of them is always in the shade. Such a nice thing in a hot Queensland summer.
I think this part of the garden must be especially nice on a winter afternoon, the bricks reflecting much-needed warmth while the hedges and trees protect from any icy winds that might sneak through.
Visiting Jimbour House was a happy accident, the memory of which I will long treasure. It’s definitely a place I will recommend for anyone visiting Southern Queensland.
As the sun rose higher, Sue and I bid farewell to that magical place, climbed back in the van, and headed down the road. We found a shady spot at a park and indulged in a roadside picnic lunch of sardines, boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, an assortment of nuts, ripe peaches, and piping hot cups of tea.
We were ready for the next adventure.
If you were planning a garden, what is one thing you’d like to include? xo