Manjimup’s Lost Aboretum: Finsbury House
Driveway to Finsbury House, Manjimup: Walnuts
We went exploring at Finsbury House (est. 1906) a few weekends back, on invitation from cousin Paula “Paulsie” McKennay and her Mum, Aunty Carol “Cags”, both consummate florists and gardeners. The original founder of the property was John Frederick Kammann. He was married to his wife in Finsbury, London, and that’s where the name of the farm came from.
The old Finsbury Homestead
Delirious with tree love,
having one of the best mornings for the year with my aunt, Carol “Cags” McKennay, at Finsbury.
Exploring around the delapidated original Finsbury Homestead
The founder was our friend Katie Kammann’s great great grandfather. She gathered with relatives to celebrate the Finsbury centenary back in 2006, and learnt a bit about the place. When she saw this photo, she told me the story behind the beautiful old concrete form. It’s said that once upon a time, a terrible storm tore through the property. With it, an enormous tree fell, leaving a gaping hole in the ground. It was decided rather than fill the hole, a concrete form pond would be created where the tree once stood.
Finsbury in its heyday was obviously a beautiful homestead, with waxed jarrah floorboards and a home library.
Thank you to Yvonne Dare and Paula McKennay for the photo.
An old tin of Antiseptic Pastilles on the ground by the Homestead door … for Clergymen Public Speakers Singers etc
Much of the structure was built out of local Karri wood, before it was known to be a poor choice for building. Sadly, the white ants have come off better.
My Aunt Carol last visited the garden some 30 yrs ago, with a local gardening group to do some stewardship work. I stood by in a kind of tree-love induced delirium. She was astounded at the change, and delighted to see how well the trees were doing. She did have a few ideas for a little stewardship though, firmly pointing out which pines “had to go” to allow room for other tree canopies to expand.
“How vainly men themselves amaze,
to win the palm, the oak or bays…”
(from Marvel’s The Garden)
Paulsie is more consistently and abundantly full of enthusiasm for life than any person, or garden, I’ve ever experienced.
Thanks for inviting me along Paulsie – it was among the most gratifying mornings of my entire year, nay, life.
standing here in the night
we are turned to a great tree,
every leaf a star,
its roots eternity.
Cop this beech
With great thanks to the present owner of Finsbury, Brad Ipsen.
You might be left wondering, then, will become of Finsbury? Well, I have a hunch that this is a story worth tracking.
Stay tuned to Stellar Violets to see what becomes of this precious, marvellous place.