The Stoneridge Property
The scenic drive between Balingup and Nannup has been called the best road in Western Australia. Nine kilometres out of Balingup, a little beyond the historic Ferndale homestead, is the 6ha (15 acres) we named Stoneridge.
Private, secluded and tranquil, Stoneridge lies 200m (220 yards) from the winding Blackwood Valley Drive, and looks along and across the valley of the Balingup Brook.
Our slopes, facing north and west, climb quickly from the valley bottom and the road, to form a ridge that runs back into the hill. It has beautiful rock outcrops — so, Stoneridge.
“Thank you for sharing your little piece of heaven with us!” — D & K
We know little of the pre-European Aboriginal heritage of the area, although the name Balingup itself commemorates a local Aboriginal man. His people moved along the water courses, but it seems they didn’t often venture deep into the ancient eucalypt forest that covered the slopes.
In pioneer times the whole hillside became part of the Ferndale estate, settled in the mid-19th Century by the Padbury family; but our block was not separately surveyed until 1922. It was intended for part of a returned soldiers’ “group settlement” scheme – there were ambitious plans for what is still sometimes called Lower Balingup. Like most of the group settlement schemes, Lower Balingup did not succeed in that form.
“Great getaway with beautiful views and nearby townships. The Blue Wren is so friendly and industrious and was great to see emus on our arrival. Cheers.” — JT
But in time, the valley of the Balingup Brook became some of the richest dairy and beef cattle country in Western Australia. The “Old Cheese Factory” on the edge of Balingup really made cheese.
In the 20th Century, the Vitali and Somerset families farmed Ferndale, including the Stoneridge block. There are still some remains of their dairy.
“What a gorgeous setting – peace and quiet – at harmony with life. Thank you.” — G & G
However, since the 1950’s the block had actually belonged to a prospecting company. It appeared to hold another deposit of the Greenbushes tin-tantalum mineralisation, but this turned out not to be commercial. The cows grazed in peace, except for occasional exploratory digs and geology students on field trips.
So the name Stoneridge also reflects an aspect of the property’s heritage, and we have the world’s only outcrop of the Ferndale pegmatite.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s the then Forests Department bought a number of farms around Balingup, including Ferndale, for Pinus radiata (Monterey Pine) plantations. But Stoneridge did not change hands, and was never planted.
Today we have restored much tree cover while preserving our views and grazing land. We have the beautiful rock outcrops, and a few wild pines that we leave in peace.
Kangaroos and emus are regulars, and over 50 other species of birds come to visit, forage, and sometimes nest here. We hope you enjoy it all as we do.
“A wonderful family holiday – cosy, relaxing, peaceful and truly restorative. Beautiful scenery – would love to come back.” — S, U, J ,I & L
See details of the Stoneridge cottage accommodation here.