A story about a farm, and revisiting the secret garden

When Rick was young, his family owned a property in Mittagong, which is a small town nestled in the Southern Highlands. The farm was called Eltham Park, and every school holidays, Rick and his family would pack up their belongings and drive down there to stay for two weeks. During the first week, it would just be the five of them: Rick, his two sisters and his parents. In the second week, they would be joined by Uncle John’s family. Sometimes, his grandparents would visit too.

Over the course of our marriage, I’ve loved listening to the stories that Rick has recounted from those carefree days. The one that’s stuck with me the most was about the time when all the kids decided that they wanted to hold a midnight feast. To raise money to buy the food, they held a table tennis tournament and put on a BMX bike show for the adults, who had to pay a dollar or two to watch. They managed to raise sufficient funds to buy some Cool Mints but instead of waiting till midnight, they devoured the lollies at ten o’clock and were in bed by quarter past.

It’s not surprising then, that Mittagong is one of our favourite places to visit when we feel like going for a few hours drive. Indeed, we’ve driven past Eltham Park numerous times with the boys, and I’ve taken countless photos from the main gates. Sometimes Rick and I even joke about buying it one day.

On one of these trips to Mittagong during our recent family holiday, we revisited the Sturt gardens and cafe, which is somewhat of a hidden oasis amidst the farms and the hills. The gardens were as beautiful as ever, and this time, we had three little boys trampling upon the grass, hiding amongst the bushes, marching up and down the ramp to the little white cottage, fighting over the orange butterfly chair and the most fun of all – playing with all the fallen autumn leaves as if they were confetti. As a parent, there really is nothing quite like seeing your own children running around freely and squealing with pure delight at the simplest, smallest things. Nothing much compares to seeing them laughing in sync and enjoying life together. If nothing else, I am proud of this life that Rick and I have created for them: we may not have a farm (yet), but we do have each other.

The cafe at Sturt is quaint, spacious and cosy. The menu is affordable, and the food is good. Rick and I loved our BLTs and the boys thoroughly enjoyed their nuggets and chips (we are very pro-nuggets in this family). Most importantly, they have high chairs and cheap babycinos, so this is definitely somewhere that you can take the kids.

Sturt gardens & cafe
Cnr Range Road & Waverley Parade
Mittagong NSW 2575
Café phone: 02 4860 2086

Do you and your family have a favourite place to visit?

18 comments

Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos November 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Certainly sounds like a lovely place, Ronnie. Love the story about the midnight feast! :-)

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eek! November 7, 2012 at 10:19 pm

You take the most amazing photos. Always an inspiration :)

Thanks for your kind comments. The quote card is actually from Becky’s Project Real Life class on BPC.
ox

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Pink Ronnie November 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

That’s awesome that you took Project Real Life. How did you find it?
Ronnie xo

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Jane November 8, 2012 at 12:34 am

I love the story about the midnight feast! I hope you get that farm one day! Thanks again for sharing these beautiful photos.

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Ali Mackin November 8, 2012 at 3:29 am

What a beautiful post sounds like a wonderful childhood.

Ali of

http://www.aliandang.com

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rooth November 8, 2012 at 8:39 am

How very cute – I can imagine the boys running around and having a ball. It’s quite nice to have them do that somewhere outside, I’m sure. I’m curious as to how you manage their energy level on a daily basis

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Pink Ronnie November 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

We try to always give them time to run around outside every day, and we also make sure they all have a decent nap (2-3 hours) in the middle of the day….
Ronnie xo

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Debie Grace November 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

It’s always fascinates me stories about farms or even gardens. It always takes me back to my childhood days. And I love going back to those memories! Rick must be very lucky to experience that, too! And it’s awesome to know that you guys are planning to buy a farm! :)

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rachel November 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Love that photo of the boys on the bench! Sounds like a fun time. :)

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Nina - Tabiboo November 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I love that – to think of fallen leaves as if they are confetti…it’s so true.

Nina x

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Pink Ronnie November 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

They had so much fun with those leaves, it was magical.
Thanks for stopping by the blog, Nina. Lovely to have you.
Ronnie xo

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Fiona November 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Love hearing those fun stories from Rick’s childhood. That picture of Pete with the leaves is just precious! I have lovely childhood memories of playing in piles of leaves. Blissful!

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Chantel November 9, 2012 at 7:25 am

This is fabulous. From your words and photos it almost feels like I was there. I adore that first photo. I love how your boys seem to play so well together.

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gaby November 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

My husband grew up working on his great-grandad’s farm (yes, GREAT-grandad) with all of his cousins, and i always love hearing their tales from back then. Sadly, that farm isn’t in the family anymore but other aunts and uncles have bought their own farms up the coast that we love to visit.

p.s. thanks for your sweet words of congratulations! i tried to email you back but your email isn’t attached to your comment so i’m here instead… i think we are very close in our pregnancies! yay :) i’m 14 weeks along, due early may. though since it’s my 1st baby, i reckon it’ll probably come closer to june. looking forward to comparing notes, you must be a pro by now!

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Pink Ronnie November 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Family tales are so precious!
I am so excited for you (and slightly envious that you didn’t get nausea!). We are definitely very close. I am 16.5 weeks, baby due end of April. Definitely looking forward to sharing this journey together. Little ones are such a blessing.
Ronnie xo

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Latrina November 12, 2012 at 5:18 am

Your little family just warms my heart, Ronnie. You have such a sweet life it seems. I sincerely enjoyed the story of your husband when he was little on the farm. Seemed like a scene from an old movie or something. :) So precious.

And I can just imagine your joy when seeing your little ones run around in the leaves. It is truly a blessing when little ones can be so thankful & happy for all the small things. Gratefulness is such a good thing.

I hope you had a fantastic weekend, Ronnie. :)

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I love hearing from you!

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