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TAS Country : August 5th 2010
ust 6, 2010 17 NEW BREED: Dorpers have been introduced at Fonthill for the first time. Fonthill being utilised as a farm tourism enterprise. work with local butchers to develop that a bit more.'' There are about 650 goats running on Fonthill and that includes 260 purebred Boer goats which are a meat breed. Eventually, Susan said they would like to run about 1000 Boer breeding does on the property. Mr Winspear said growth rates of the goats were slower than the Dorpers, so they would be aiming to turn off goats at between 35kg-40kg at between eight to nine months old. Susan said since arriving in June, the goats had settled in extremely well, and some had already kidded. ''It's very difficult to know because the goats plant their kids among the gorse for the first three or four days so they're difficult to find, but we know there are some out there,'' she said. Natural browsers, the goats like a mix of 70 per cent roughage and 30 per cent pasture in their diet. ''I just love the goats,'' Susan said. ''If you've got good fences, they're fairly easy to control and when you get them into the yards they're completely different to sheep, they'll just look around for an opening to go through and it's all very calm.'' With a mix of improved pasture and native runs, Susan said the livestock would have a good balanced diet. Tourism is still an important part of Fonthill and all four sisters are very much involved. The running of the tourism side of things is handled by Rose's daughter-in- law Vanessa Bresnehan. The original Fonthill cottage was built by Frances Gerard Tabart in 1832 and was almost completely beyond repair when the sisters purchased the property back in 2001. But they set about rebuilding the four bedroom cabin, which is now one of their main accommodation venues. Timber to rebuild the cabin was cut off the property to retain the original character of the building. They also transported several of the old Brighton Army Barracks buildings to the property and, along with the renovated shearers' quarters, can accommodate more than 40 people as well as having communal kitchen and eating areas. Susan said the accommodation was popular with school groups and also with horse riding clubs because they could bring along their horses and go for long rides across the property. The shearing shed is now also being transformed into a museum. As part of the Fonthill experience, Susan said tours of the magnificent main homestead, which was built in 1840 and sits on a hill overlooking the property, would be re-introduced. Preserved with most of its original interior, the homestead tour includes everything from the formal dining areas and large spacious bedrooms, through to servants quarters, cellar, bakery and the old dairy room. Susan said guests visiting the homestead could be treated to a lunch which included homemade bread cooked in the wood fired oven on site and butter churned the old-fashioned way in a hand-turned churn.
August 12th 2010