Kurrumbede was open to the public on Saturday with thousands of people walking onto the property to catch a glimpse of 1930s life.

The property is most well-known for its famous previous resident, the poet Dorothea Mackellar.

People were encouraged to dress up in 1930s garden party attire resulting in plenty of attendees dressed for the era.

Entertainment included pony cart rides, heavy horses, whip cracking, Anthea Guest riding side saddle, vintage machinery, a fashion parade, market stalls and plenty of entertainment on stage at the front of the house.

Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society managed to get the Arc Circus to perform, coming from Vivid in Sydney.

Local entertainment included The Gunnedah Uke-Alypts, The Fabulasses and many more.

President of the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, Pip Murray, was happy with the success of the day.

“It is a screaming success and I love the fact that the front room [was] open and people [could] go in there and get an idea of how they lived,” Pip said.

“This region has such a great history and it was fantastic to see so many people come out for the day to celebrate it,” Whitehaven Coal’s general manager community engagement, Darren Swain said.

When Pip was asked if she would like to see more open days in the future, she agreed.

“I hope so! I think it should be enjoyed by the community.”

This was the second time Kurrumbede has held an open day, its first being in 2021.

The perfect weather had been a redeeming quality from the last open day when it rained.

“It was cold and it got worse as the day went on,” she said.

Saturday’s open day had received plenty of praise. 

“We were successful in getting the homestead precinct placed on the state heritage register last year and we want the general public to share that,” she said.

“I hope it is an experience people wouldn’t get anywhere else.

“To get in the moment … the history and culture.”

Whitehaven Coal is the current owner of Kurrumbede and plans to hold this event again in the future.

“Whitehaven Coal is also investing significant funds to restore the property’s gardens, Kurrumbede is an iconic piece of local history and we want to ensure it is celebrated and shared for many years to come,” said Mr Swain.

The day was free entry for all, with a donation bucket at the entrance.

The Mackellar family had owned the property from 1905 until the 1940s with front room open for observers.

“[The Mackellar family] gathered in that room and Dorothea sat on the veranda and looked out over the plains and down to the river,” Pip said.

“[The land] was the inspiration for a lot of her writing and it’s a way of life we don’t have any more and I think we should celebrate that.”

“The event truly encapsulated the iconic heritage of the Gunnedah region.”

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