Meet: Sally Newman
Meet Sally Newman, Owner, Yandina Station
Yandina Station is the original cattle property on the Sunshine coast, established in 1853. When did it become yours?
My parents bought the property in the late ‘70s as a bull depot for their Brahman stud. We moved here in 1993 and started the massive job of restoring the fabulous but decrepit buildings. The homestead, for example, is built of beautiful, unpainted, pit-sawn beech boards that are about 30cm wide. Most of the neighbours advised us to light a match and walk away - which would have been cheaper - but we come from a long line of preservers! It has been a wonderful experience to develop what we have here and preserve this beautiful homestead and let people know about the history here.
The property now is 200 acres and makes a living as a stud farm, tourist accommodation and wedding venue. How does the garden fit into all of that?
The homestead is on a ridge - those early pioneers really did know how to choose a beautiful location for a homesite - and I am very reluctant to clutter the vistas, so we are concentrating on low hedging to elevate it from a farmhouse to a luxury country estate, along with the kind of subtropical plantings like frangipani and bougainvillea that do so well here.
Do you have to keep bridal colour schemes in mind?
The brides really love the country vistas, so we aim for lovely greenscapes. And I love to pick roses, so we have lots of David Austins, especially yellow ‘Graham Thomas’ which is terrific. One of the roses that does really well here is a beautiful pink bush rose that I got as a cutting froma local historian in Yandina. It had been growing in the garden of the first white woman to move to the district. It’s called ‘Christina Lowe’, after her.
There was an outpouring of grief on social media recently when you lost an old Moreton Bay fig. What happened?
It was quite devastating, we were so emotionally connected to that tree. We think it was about 150 years old and just so majestic.It had grown up with the cyclones we get through here, but when we had one from a different direction the tree wasn’t prepared for it. People really felt it.So many people had been married under that tree, or christened their babies, over twenty years or so, but we’re moving on now.
What have you done?
I’ve planted a line of the tropical birch, Betula nigra, which will offer a bit of the screening that the fig did, and there are other figs on the property which will grow to be just as mighty as the one we lost. It also gave us the chance to build a new all-weather pavilion. We’re choosing to see the loss as an opportunity!