Gunya Farm provides shelter

Nicolette BarbasHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Brunswick local Ted Hill stands outside his farm with a few of his IGA Perth Royal Show Champion Fleece sashes.Photo: Nicolette Barbas
Camera IconBrunswick local Ted Hill stands outside his farm with a few of his IGA Perth Royal Show Champion Fleece sashes.Photo: Nicolette Barbas Credit: Picture: Nicolette Barbas

To most, Gunya is an Aboriginal word for shelter, but to Ted Hill, it represents home.

Standing outside the gate to what he claims will be the last farm he will own and operate, the veteran woolgrower and life-long farmer said fate had brought him to this exact spot.

The second eldest of seven, Ted was born and raised in Kimber South Australia and worked on his family farm from the young age of 15.

“Growing up we didn’t have much, but the one thing we did have was the farm and each other,” Ted said.

“Right before my mother died she decided to call the family farm ‘Gunya’ – an Aboriginal word for shelter.”

Working on his family farm for more than 15 years, Ted never took a wage from his parents as they had promised to sign it over to him when they were ready to retire.

When his mother died, Ted approached his father for the farm.

“My father turned around to me and laughed and said “you’re mad, you don’t actually think you’re getting this do you?”

“So I packed up my wife, three kids, a cow and a horse and drove across the Nullarbor to Ravensthorpe, bought a conditional purchase block of scrub and started from scratch.”

“I remember driving into this patch of scrub with $560 in my pocket thinking “well if I’ve got nothing, I’ve got nothing to lose”.

Fast forward 44 years and Ted’s life couldn’t be more dissimilar.

Since leaving Adelaide, Ted and his wife Bev have owned and operated three farms, won 24 consecutive wool selection competitions at the Perth Royal Show and have bred, raced and won with a number of horse races around Perth.

Settling down in Brunswick was another unplanned step in Ted’s life.

“I was visiting my son who worked here and met up with Don Fry who told me he had the perfect place for Bev and I and drove me up to this farm,” Ted recalled.

“The first thing I noticed was the sign on the gate that read “Gunya Farm” and I thought, what are the chances?”

“I didn’t even make it past the gate to look inside, I bought it straight away, it was fate.”

Almost 18 months on, sitting out the back of his Brunswick farmhouse with his newborn grandson, the soon to be 73-year-old strongly believes fate and luck have played a large role in his life.

“There is a reason things happen the way they do,” he said.

“I’ve been extremely blessed and lucky, and a lot has brought me happiness.”

“If I was to die right here right now, I’d be content with how my life turned out.”

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