Visit Mona Farm in Braidwood

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A nod to history: The work taking place to restore Mona is all about "Embracing the past but also going into the future," says Suzanne. Photo: Supplied.

A nod to history: The work taking place to restore Mona is all about "Embracing the past but also going into the future," says Suzanne. Photo: Supplied.

Mona Farm and Historic Home is an integral part of Braidwood’s history.

The 124 acres of land on which Mona sits was part of the 4600 acres granted to former British Navy medical officer Thomas Braidwood Wilson whom the town has been named after.

Still a work in progress since 1837, it features the original homestead, stables and close to 8 acres of gardens that were purposefully designed to re-create the look of the English-style estates that Thomas and his wife Jane were familiar with.

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The property started changing hands as early as 1843, and each family of owners further developed the property with new structures like the shearing shed (function centre) and extensions to the homestead.

In February 2018 Mona Farm was purchased by a well-respected Sydney family, and it has been undergoing an extensive restoration. 

This includes returning the heritage gardens to their former glory, installing original art works and sculptures by well-known national and international artists, and building on a business strategy that focuses on tourism and the unique features of historic Braidwood. 

ABOUT BRAIDWOOD

“Braidwood is certainly an iconic town as far as history goes,” says Mona’s current owner Suzanne Gearing. “It’s a really really interesting little town with really interesting people. It’s certainly a stopping place, or a holiday or even a living place for a lot of identities and musicians as well. It also has a pretty interesting film history. It’s a fascinating town.”

NEW DIRECTION

After buying Mona in February 2018, “We developed a new business strategy that is based on tourism” into the region.

They’ve been organising concerts and “a lot of social tourism-based things that are more about bringing people into Braidwood itself and encouraging them to go into Braidwood rather than just Mona.”

Since 1837: Mona is on some of the land granted to former British Navy medical officer Thomas Braidwood Wilson. Photo: Supplied.

Since 1837: Mona is on some of the land granted to former British Navy medical officer Thomas Braidwood Wilson. Photo: Supplied.

In terms of Mona’s facilities and accommodation they’ve upgraded and modernised them, “and filled them with a lot of beautiful art work, both Australian and international, and we’ve started putting sculptures in the garden. The gardens are all being restored as well.”

Suzanne also said they’ve spoken to past owners of the property in an effort to learn and document its history as accurately as possible.

They are even slowly putting a book together, which is a big task in itself.

The overall goal is to make this part of the world a tourist destination so “we’re working not just with Braidwood but with Bungendore and QPRC (the local council) in Queanbeyan.

“It’s all about making the region something that goes on the tourist map,” concludes Suzanne.

New outlook: The goal of the owners is not to just provide accommodation but promote tourism in the wider Braidwood region. Photo: Supplied.

New outlook: The goal of the owners is not to just provide accommodation but promote tourism in the wider Braidwood region. Photo: Supplied.