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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 13: The Old Homestead

The Old Homestead is the Week 13 Challenge for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  I could only think of one place to talk about. By the time I was 13 I had lived in two countries and three states of Australia and a total of 13 homes.  There was no real homestead in my life.  I had often heard the stories from my Western Australia relatives about “David Street”, one of the homes my mum lived in as a child. This house was a centre point for many of them.  However, that is a story for another day.  The decision, in the end, was easy – I had to talk about “Ironbarks”.



Week 13 – The Old Homestead

Ironbarks, Greenough, George Brand, Convict
Ironbarks, Greenough – Image courtesy of Panoramio.coma


George Brand arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia aboard the convict ship “Stag” on 23 May 1855.1  Upon receiving his Ticket of Leave he worked for Charles Crother in Greenough.2,3,4  Following his pardon he leased 40 acres from Charles Crowther to become a tenant farmer, working alongside his family who had arrived in 1859 aboard the “Hamilla Mitchell”.2,3,4,5





Building the Homestead

Isabella Brand, Henry Fletcher Waldeck, Ironbarks Greenough
1867 Isabella Brand’s Wedding, ‘Ironbarks’ – Image courtesy of Ancestry.comb

George commenced building the home, a small stone cottage, in 1861, and over the years the house was added to and became a sprawling homestead.3  The Brand family constructed the majority of the buildings on the property.3  In 1861 the barn was built and was used to conduct the Wesleyan Church Services.3,4  They farmed the land and bred livestock.3  In 1867, George’s daughter, Isabella married at the property.



After George died in a buggy accident in 1872 the property lease was taken over by John and Reuben Morrell in 1879.3,6  John moved out when Reuben married Elizabeth Duncan in 1888, and they went to raise their 8 children at Ironbarks.3  In the late 1890’s they extended the home to include a music room.3  In this time Ironbarks was the largest commercial producer of butter in the region.3  Following Reuben’s death in 1919, the children Fred, Septimus, and Gladys took over the operation of the property.3  Septimus and Gladys remained there until 1980.3


Ironbarks, Greenough - Homestead Image Courtesy of Geraldton Property Group
Ironbarks Homestead – Image Courtesy of Geraldton Property Groupc

In 1980 Mike and Sue Shields bought the property eventually selling to John and Pearl Marriot who sold it to Mike and Nova Piesse in 1994.3  Mike and Nova undertook extensive conservation work on the house including restoring the music room and laying timber flooring in the living area.3 They sold the property in 2005 and it is again on the market for $599,000.7


Even though the property went to the Morrell family, that was not the end of the link to the Brand family.  In 1900, George’s granddaughter, Esther Daisy Brand married George Ernest Morrell.8  Then on 2nd September 1914, another of George’s granddaughter’s, Eugenia Maude Brand married Forrest Morrell in the Methodist Church, Dongara.9



Ironbarks Today

Ironbarks, Greenough - Homestead Kitchen Image Courtesy of Geraldton Property Group
Ironbarks Kitchen – Image Courtesy of Geraldton Property Groupd

Ironbarks still stands today at 1237 Company Road, Greenough, on 30 acres, and is one of the oldest surviving properties in the Front Flats area of Greenough.3,7   It is situated near the Greenough river and the coastal sand dunes.3  Incidentally, it sits approximately 1km from the Brand Highway, named for George’s grandson, Sir David Brand, Premier of Western Australia 1959-1971.10  The home is considered to be of great historical significance as it is associated with two pioneering families of the region – Brand and Morrell.3,7


Ironbarks, Greenough - Homestead Vegetation Image Courtesy of Geraldton Property Group
Ironbarks Vegetation – Image Courtesy of Geraldton Property Groupe

The original stone cottage built by George is situated to the rear of the home and is now the kitchen, boasting a pitched timber roof and shingle tiles.7  In the stunning lounge are beautiful jarrah floors and a fireplace.3,7  It has large melaleuca trees, possibly the property was named Ironbarks due to these, situated to the east and north-east of the homestead, and a large palm tree to the front.3  There is significant vegetation, walled gardens, and many outbuildings around the property.3 The front section, built in 1905, has a corrugated roof that extends to a covered verandah.3  In the courtyard between this section and the original cottage was roofed and is now a large living area.3



I would really love to visit Ironbarks and take a look around the home of my ancestors.  This is definitely on my bucket list!



Do you have an old homestead that means something to your family?  Tell me about it in the comments below.



1. Fremantleprison.com.au. ‘Convict Database’. https://fremantleprison.com.au/history-heritage/history/the-convict-era/. Accessed 16 May 2016.
2. Geraldton Hospitality Inn, ‘Ironbarks Old Forge’, https://www.geraldton.wa.hospitalityinns.com.au/ironbarks, Accessed 16 May 2016.
3. City of Greater Geraldton, ‘Greenough Heritage Places’, https://www.cgg.wa.gov.au/Profiles/cgg/Assets/ClientData/Document-Centre/Planning/Heritage/Part_3_-_Greenough.pdf, Accessed 26 March 2018.
4. Erickson, Rica. The Brand on his Coat: Biographies of some Western Australian Convicts. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1983.
5. Ancestry.com. Western Australia, Australia, Crew and Passenger Lists, 1852-1930 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2010. Source Citation: SRO of Western Australia; Albany Passenger list of Assisted Emigrants showing names of emigrants and from which countries selected; Immigration Record for Isabella, David, Isabella, Andrew, and George Brand, Accession: 115; Roll: 214. Accessed 5 June 2016.
6. Trove. ‘Herald’. (1879, September 21). Fremantle, Western Australia (Fremantle, WA: 1867 – 1886), p.3. https://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114441153. Accessed 31 May 2016.
7. Realestate.com.au, ‘1237 Company Road’, https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-wa-greenough-122381634, Accessed 26 March 2018.
8. Erickson, Rica and O’Mara, Gillian. The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians. V. 9. Convicts in Western Australia, 1850-1887. Nedlands, W.A.: University of Western Australia, 1987-[1997].[Revision of Dictionary of Western Australians Vol. 2 Bond 1850-1868. Alphabetical listing of convicts and short biography of each].
9. Wedding Bells.” Geraldton Express (WA : 1906 – 1919) 14 September 1914: 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article211762264, Accessed 12 August 2016.
Adb.anu.ed.au. ‘Sir David Brand’. https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/brand-sir-david-9571. Accessed 10 June 2016.
Image Credits
a. ‘Ironbarks’, Greenough, Western Australia. https://www.panoramio.com/photo/19112398. Accessed 15 June 2016.
b. 1867 Isabella Brand’s Wedding at ‘Ironbarks’. https://mv.ancestrylibrary.com/viewer/d6d7fd4b-8c41-4714-83d7-f2758cf874f5/54394119/13802447848? _phsrc=gqo97&usePUBJs=true. Accessed 10 June 2016.
c. Ironbarks Homestead. Geraldton Property Group, https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-wa-greenough-122381634, Accessed 4 April 2018.
d. Ironbarks Kitchen. Geraldton Property Group, https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-wa-greenough-122381634, Accessed 4 April 2018.
e. Ironbarks Vegetation. Geraldton Property Group, https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-wa-greenough-122381634, Accessed 4 April 2018.

14 thoughts on “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 13: The Old Homestead

  1. It’s so cool that you have the option of going and seeing such a beautifully preserved homestead of your ancestors! I love that vaulted ceiling, I wonder how it will feel when you’re in there. There’s a mountain range just south of me named after my ancestors, and also up in there somewhere an abandoned mining town. I have yet to go explore it, don’t know what I’m waiting for, and I wonder how I’ll feel when I’m there. 🙂

    1. Hi Penelope
      I really want to go see this homestead but it is 4500km from my home, on the other side of the country! I think next time I make a trip to Perth (400km south of Greenough) I need to make a concerted effort to travel up there! You need to go see that mountain range if it is close to you. Let me know how you go.

  2. I can just imagine what a wonderful experience it would be to visit the homestead, to touch the same walls that George himself handled, and walk the same floors (well almost) that his family did. Breathing in the ancestors so to speak.

    1. Hi Jen
      I know! I contacted the real estate agent currently selling the property to see if he had any further information about the house and told him my connection to it. He invited me to inspect it but alas a trip from Brisbane to Western Australia is not doable at the moment! In a bit of a coincidence a home I always loved looking at heading into Brisbane city is currently up for sale. I’m waiting for the open house for this one as it was the home of my children’s great-great-grandparents. I would love to look around it!


  3. Megan,
    When you contacted the real estate agents did you ask them for the link to the pages and information about the property when last for sale. Last year I received a message, via my blog, from the real estate agent selling Rosemount, the property belonging to my grandparents in the 1950s and 1960s. As well as having access to the information they had posted they contacted the owner at the time, passing on the link to my blog, and he contacted me asking for further information about the house and took photographs of the property and house as it is today for me.
    Cheers, Vicki

    1. Hi Vicki
      The real estate agent sent me links to some information about the house that is on the web that I was able to include in the article. I will contact again to see if he can pass any further information or photos on. Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Hello Peter

      Wonderful to hear from another George Brand descendant! I, too am a third great grandchild of his. Just out of curiousity, which of his children do you descend from – David, Andrew, George, or John?


        1. Hello Peter

          Wow! So good to hear from you. So where did John’s descendants end up? Did they stay in the Greenough region or move on?


  4. I have really enjoyed reading all your stories of George Brand – especially as I have many connections to the family via my own Western Australian convict families and my proximity to Greenough. I have been able to add some fascinating “bits” to my own story of the Brand family – I did not realise that his misdemeanours were so wide……..
    When I travel to my own family home at Northampton I pass through Geraldton and Greenough, so this week I will be thinking of Ironbarks through that area. Another quirk of fate is that I was in Brisbane only last week too.

    1. Hello Susanne

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment about your link to George Brand. I am glad that his story added some dimension to your family history. This is what genealogy is all about – finding the interesting bits and sharing them with others. I have never made it as far as Geraldton in my previous travels to Perth as I spend so much time visiting close family but my goal is to definitely travel to that part of the state in the future. Which families of yours connect to George – Criddle, Waldeck, Eaton, Patton, Gould? I would be very interested to know.


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