How to save the last remaining sheep farm in the country
Holland Ridge Farm is a small, family-owned, 100% local farm in western Australia.
In the 1980s it was one of the last of its kind in Australia.
Its owners, David and Catherine Johnston, were trying to sell the farm and decided to go out and farm in a different country, Canada.
When they returned to Australia in 2005, it was time to put the land up for sale.
The Johnstons sold their land in a move that they had hoped would provide some stability to the family.
It wasn’t to be.
The price of the land fell and so did the Johnstons’ income.
When the property fell for good, the Johnston family decided to sell it.
They wanted to do it as a way of giving back to the community.
They had an idea that, if the land could be re-valued, the family could do something to help the community, too.
In 2012, the property was sold to a company called Weta Land Ltd.
The new owners bought the land in 2019 and moved it to the new site.
In 2021, the new owners were also given a 10 year lease on the property.
This year, the land was bought by the Commonwealth Government for $1.1 million and is now the new home of the National Heritage Area.
The property is just north of the Hough River.
At the moment, it’s a family-run farm, but there’s a plan to expand it.
The land will be used for a park, as well as a park and wildlife sanctuary, a visitor centre, and the new national museum.
The future is bright, but the family’s hope is that the land will help revitalise the community around it.
It’s been a tough few years for the Johnston brothers and their family, but they’re hopeful that the future is still bright.
“It’s been pretty difficult,” said David Johnston.
You don’t get much time off and it’s hard but we’re still trying to find the next thing and I’m confident that we’ll be able to get through it.”