We asked Chris and Rod Greenaway to tell us about their part of the world and the cottages they rent to people who want a relaxing time ‘away from it all’.
Fairview Farm Cottages consists of two very private cottages which only sleep two people in each. They are for people who want, or need, to get away from it all.
Apple Tree Cottage was originally built in the 1930’s. I should say the previous owners of the farm “started” building it in the 1930’s for a son who was going to get married. He didn’t get married, so they didn’t finish it! But, we finished it in 1986 because my husband’s parents were going to visit from the UK and we thought we’d try to tempt them to stay by giving them Apple Tree Cottage to live in. Unfortunately, they felt they were too old for such a big change in their lives – big city Southampton to small village Tilba Tilba.
Our other cottage is really a converted Dairy. It was the original dairy on the property but hadn’t been in operation as a dairy for over 40 years. We like to keep our old buildings if we can, so we gave The Dairy a new lease on life by knocking out the old decayed weatherboards and then mud-bricking around the roof, which was in pretty good shape. Making mud bricks was a new experience for us and as luck would have it, all we had to do was dig a big hole at the back of the dairy fill it with water, toss in some straw and we had instant mud. I decided that this would be our “togetherness project”. Two days into the brick making process I opted out in a big way! The problem was – I’m a Virgo and my husband, Rod, is a Taurus. Virgo’s mud bricks have to be smooth on top with neat corners. Taurus’ mud bricks are shovelled into the mould and then a quick flick across the top and on to the next one. It was never going to work and as it turned out it was a blessing that I did opt out because Rod’s bricks have loads of character – no two are the same.
If they had been Virgo bricks they would have looked flat and boring and therefore The Dairy wouldn’t have the character that everyone remarks on today. I wasn’t totally useless however, because I came in towards the end and used my sewing skills (such as they were) to pretty the place up and in fact the whole project was a lesson in recycling. We used old post and rail fence posts around the recycled windows. The Dairy, although small, took two years to finish because Rod did the whole thing himself and did a marvellous job. If you are interested you can see The Dairy and Apple Tree Cottage on our website
Renting out our cottages really started because Apple Tree Cottage was empty and we didn’t want to rent it out permanently, so we became only the second property to offer holiday accommodation in the Tilba district way back in 1986. Once we realised that Apple Tree Cottage was a success it seemed a natural progression to then do something with The Dairy.
The other reason for entering the tourism industry was to supplement our income. Rod is a retired dairy farmer but we now run a small herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle and rear vealers on our 150 acres which only gives a small income, so when I retired from my job at the local High School it was a case of having to create something from not a lot.
Over the years we have met some amazing people and made lots of good friends. We have a large number of clients who come back every year and it’s always good to see them again. I can’t honestly think of any “down-side” to having the cottages. Really and truly there is no down-side, it’s all terrific and we love it.
You asked “what is the attraction of living where we do?” Well, it goes back to 1961 when it was absolute luck and a whole different story that brought us to Tilba Tilba. As soon as we arrived we loved Tilba Tilba and Tilba Tilba embraced us – there’s no other word for it. We are celebrating our 50th year in Tilba Tilba in April and it’s still as beautiful as it was then. It’s a peaceful place to live; picturesque and gentle. We have good facilities nearby if we need them.
We have two of the best golf courses in the state (Bermagui and Narooma), as well as pristine beaches and we have marvellous bushwalks on our farm which has two boundaries with the Wallaga Lake National Park and of course we have Wallaga Lake at the end of the paddock. What more could we want.